Monthly Archives: July 2012

Grilled Pizza

Most of us are not lucky enough to have a wood fired pizza oven in our home kitchen. However, if you have a charcoal grill you can get a great grilled pizza!

You’ll need to start with a very thin crust. In the past I’ve used a recipe from Cooks Illustrated that works well. We recently bought a premixed dough at the market that was from a local flour miller – Fresh Flour in Dayton, TN. The recipe called for the dough to make 1 crust but I rolled it out into 2 crusts. You don’t want something so thin that it will burn quickly but this is not the time for your thick crust pizza. Use whatever dough recipe you like, or buy a pre made dough and roll it out a bit more if needed.

While your crust is rising, prep all your toppings. You’ll want to precook anything as the pizza doesn’t spend enough time on the grill to really cook the toppings. We used garlic scape pesto instead of marinara sauce, onions, peppers, diced tomatoes, fontina cheese and sausage from Link 41 sausage.

Light your grill and allow it to get hot. When you are ready to put the dough on, move all the charcoal to one side and lay the dough on the opposite side.

Put the lid on and let cook for 4 minutes or so and then check it. The bottom is done when it starts to bubble and you can see nice brown grill marks.

Pull the dough off the grill and top the cooked side with your toppings. (try not to rip a chunk out of the side…)

Slide the pizza back on the grill and cook for another 4 minutes or so. If you know your grill cooks hot then certainly you want to be checking more frequently.

When the cheese is melted and the bottom is browned to your liking then slide the pizza off.

It’s nice to have an option to cook pizza that doesn’t require you to turn on the oven in the middle of summer!


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Berry Vinaigrette

This is a very versatile vinaigrette recipe to have on hand this time of year as it works well with just about any berry.

Crush 1/4 cup of your berry of choice in a bowl.


1 oz honey

1/4 c white wine vinegar

chopped basil (to taste)

pinch of salt

Whisk all together and then slowly drizzle in walnut oil until you reach your preferred consistency. I usually use about 1 oz of oil but I do not like a lot of oil in my vinaigrette so you may want a bit more. While walnut oil will give you the best flavor you can certainly use a mild olive oil or grapeseed oil.

This well keep for several days in the fridge, just blend well before adding to your salad.


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Purple Hull Pea Hummus

After putting up about 16 pounds of purple hull peas last week we had just a cup or so left over. Not enough to freeze or eat with dinner but too much to just toss. What to do? Make hummus!

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made with chickpeas. Substituting purple hull peas for the chickpeas gives you the same creamy dip with a Southern twist.

In the food processor toss your cooked peas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini paste, olive oil and salt. You can certainly find a variety of recipes for hummus but it’s really just all to taste and the consistency you prefer.

It’s not much to look at, but it’s yummy!


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Dandelion and Goat Cheese Gratin

I’ve had this recipe for a Dandelion and Goat Cheese Gratin from Fine Cooking in my must try folder for several years. I’ve never made it because apparently dandelion greens are expensive! I’ve never seen them at the market and at Greenlife they are about $6/bunch.

I found dandelion greens at The Dekalb Market in Atlanta recently for $2/bunch so I finally pulled the recipe out to try. The recipe notes say that it would be a good side dish for lamb but I decided to actually add the lamb into the gratin for a one dish meal. If you aren’t adding meat to the gratin I would probably double the amount of greens I used as they cook down a lot.

Our lamb is from Sequatchie Cove Farm and the goat cheese is from Bonnie Blue Farm.

dandelion greens!

I tried a bite of the greens before they were cooked and they are bitter, bitter, bitter! Thankfully the bitterness is greatly tamed after cooking.

I used half and half instead of the heavy cream since that’s what I had in the fridge. I also added about double the amount of goat cheese called for because it just seemed right 🙂

If you are adding meat to the gratin, cook it first and then just mix it in the bowl with the chopped greens and cheese.


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Cherry Tomato Salad

Summer is here in full force with 100+ degree temps! At times like these turning on the oven should be outlawed. Thank goodness for the tomatoes! They need little other than chopping to be a quick, cooling side dish.

These are Sungold and Black Cherry tomatoes from Signal Mountain Farm. I tossed them with a bit of goat cheese from Bonnie Blue Farm and some basil from the yard. Let it sit for just a few minutes so the flavors can meld together and that’s it! A quick piece of fish or chicken would finish this off nicely.


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Recipes and copyright law

I’ve had several requests for recipes that I’ve mentioned here. I’ve been doing a bit of reading and soul-searching and making some decisions about how I interpret the copyright law. It reads:

Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions. Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook.


I read this to mean that the listing of ingredients is not protected by copyright but the instructions are protected (the description and/or explanation that accompanies the recipe).

There are a good number of people who disagree with my interpretation. However, my conscience is just not comfortable repeating verbatim what someone has created to support their livelihood.

If I am using a published recipe that is available on-line then I will try to always link to that so you can have access to the recipe. If I’m using a recipe from a book or other printed source then I encourage you to succumb to your cookbook hoarding tendencies and buy the book…you’ll find lots of other recipes to try, I’m sure 🙂


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Polenta Stuffed Chard

I really like Swiss Chard and I’m pretty sure it’s for reasons other than the gorgeous rainbow-colored stems. Pretty sure.

Signal Mountain Farms Swiss Chard

No matter why you eat it, chard is good for you and brightens up the kitchen. Especially on the messy, rainy night we made this Polenta Stuffed Swiss Chard that Neal heard on NPR the other day.

Polenta is similar to grits but it is yellow cornmeal and a more medium grind. You need to allow a bit of time for this recipe because the polenta needs to chill but the actual hands on time is pretty minimal.

Mushrooms seemed like a natural addition to this recipe so I re hydrated some shiitake mushrooms and used the mushroom water to make the polenta to increase the depth of flavor. Add the mushrooms in at the end of the cooking.

The recipe calls for removing the stems before pouring the boiling water over the chard. Next time I might wait and cut the stems out of the wilted chard as our chard tore a bit. Of course, that could be because I misread the recipe and actually boiled the leaves instead of just pouring the water over. 🙂

wrapping up packets of polenta was really quite fun!

Because our chard leaves tore we had to manipulate a few leaves together at times but it worked just fine.

so colorful!

I think we used more sauce to top the chard than originally called for but it seemed just right to me. I baked ours for 20 minutes instead of the 10 called for and skipped the broiler. The polenta is cold going into the oven and 10 minutes was just not enough time to heat it through.


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Lebanese Stuffed Peppers

We made these Lebanese Stuffed Peppers from Cooking Light recently. The recipe states that the traditional recipe uses ground lamb but they chose to use ground sirloin instead. We had ground lamb in the freezer and I tend to get frustrated with recipes that try to Americanize an ethnic dish too much so we used ground lamb from Sequatchie Cove Farm.  (Granted, there are some ingredients that you just can’t find locally and I’m not opposed to substitutions but ground lamb is pretty common these days).

These bell peppers are from Signal Mountain Farm.

Against my better judgement we followed the directions for microwaving the peppers before stuffing. I think this just really made them watery.  I think the best way to cook peppers before stuffing is to cook them in a dry, hot cast iron skillet. Turn them frequently so they brown on all sides. This gives you much better flavor.

I never have beef broth (because the only broth I have is what I make and beef bones don’t find their way into my kitchen too often). Normally I do have lamb broth but not tonight so I substituted veggie broth throughout the recipe. No need to use bland water when you have broth!

I initially didn’t realize that the lamb went into the peppers raw. I think that works much better than precooking the meat as I’ve done in the past. I’d advise basing the doneness on temperature, not just time however. We cooked our lamb peppers to 155 degrees. I’d take sirloin out at about 160 degrees.

The sauce cooks down a good bit so I ended up adding another cup of tomatoes to the pan. The flavors were still good and we had just the right amount of sauce.

Parsley is another thing that I never have. I see it called for a good bit but I just don’t care for it and therefore don’t keep it around. I don’t think we missed anything.

Overall I think they turned out well…


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Sunday Market! 7-15

Cantaloupe, watermelon, and potatoes – farmstand without a name

Okra – Hazelrig Farm

Blueberries, zephyr squash, zucchini, peppers, and celery – Signal Mountain Farm

Corn – Flat Top Mountain Farm

Those melons are beyond what a house of two can possibly eat in a week but I have no self-control this time of year at the market. Once the cantaloupe and watermelon is gone for the season it’ll be a whole year before I get any more! I must stuff myself silly eat a reasonable amount now, right? Sigh…I suppose there are worse things I could bring home than 2o lbs of melon, eh?

The market haul will now no longer fit into 1 basket and it also no longer fits into 1 picture. Not a bad problem.

Cherry Tomatoes AKA The reason I am able to suffer through the heat of summer – Signal Mountain Farm.

I recommend keeping these on the kitchen counter and eating handfuls every time you walk through the room. I remember walking through the garden with my grandfather when I was little and eating tomatoes straight off the plant. This was against the instructions of my grandmother that I wash the dirt off first. Who has time to wash the dirt off when there are tomatoes to eat?!? There is just nothing better than a sun warmed tomato straight off the vine.  Luckily my grandfather never told my secret 🙂

October beans – from a farmstand without a name. Really, how can you resist a hot pink speckled bean?

Not pictured is my now weekly purchase of goat cheese from Bonnie Blue Farm. I was buying the garlic herb variety but now I get the plain because it not only makes a fabulous addition to tomato salad but it also is a great substitute for cream cheese. I also tried a new variety this week – raw goat milk gouda. It’s hard to take a picture of cheese when you tear into it before unloading any of the other produce. crazy good!

I’m taking the week off from canning. I made Champagne Mustard from Food in Jars last night (it’s actually supposed to be white wine mustard but I had the champagne and, well, that’s just how it went down). It takes a month to cure so we’ll see how that turns out. It smelled delicious going into the jars last night but was crazy bitter. The recipe notes say the bitter flavor will mellow.

I had lots of plans for freezing and canning today but I just couldn’t do it. I needed a day of reading in a room far from the stove and canning pot, you know?


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It’s been busy…

Goodness! I’ve been so busy cooking and creating and putting up that I haven’t exactly had time to write about anything.

20 (twenty!) quarts of sauerkraut, 8 pints of roasted corn salsa, and 5 half pints of blueberry butter

The cabbage for the sauerkraut came from Signal Mountain farm as did the blueberries for the blueberry butter. The corn in the salsa is from Rainbow Hill Farm. The variety of this corn is Luscious and Rainbow Hill is growing it as it is available in organic seed. Their farm is not certified organic yet but they are making strides! It was delicious but the ears are a bit small.  The tomatoes and onion in the salsa came from the market but neither farm appears to have a name.

15 bags of purple hull peas for the freezer

These peas came from The Dekalb County Farmers Market in Atlanta. They are local to that area and I’ve decided the Dekalb Market is my best option for buying peas in bulk as I’ve had bad luck with my pea ventures in Chattanooga. If you are anywhere close to the Dekalb Market you must check it out. It is an international market with the most amazing selection of just about everything. The prices are wonderful as well.

Sometimes I get so caught up preserving and putting away that I forget I can enjoy the goodness right now. Luckily I don’t forget for too long…

Blueberry butter…who needs bread??

Blueberry butter is something I just discovered this week in a new preserving book, Food in Jars. It is a more sophisticated version of jam. There is less sugar and the addition of lemon zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon give it a spicy flavor. Delicious!


Categories: Local Food, preserving the harvest | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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