Fresh Herbs

A fresh and fun recipe catalog by a girl who likes to play in the kitchen the "from scratch" way.

|EASY CHICKPEA SALAD| 08/21/2011

Filed under: OREGANO,PARSLEY,Picnic,Savory,Sides — |FreshHerbs| @ 6:20 pm

I know, I know…it’s been way too long since my last post. I’ll simply say that this August has been rough and my focus has been elsewhere. I’ve not spent much time cooking, let alone eating, fresh and healthy meals. It has been a reminder that when you don’t feel well you tend not to eat well, and vice versa. I’ve also suddenly realized that it’s the middle of August and summer is winding down… but I have a week off coming up and I’m ready to nest and enjoy myself after weeks of running around and running myself into the ground.

With summer nearing its end, I’m obsessed with trying to grill outside as much as I can (until the propane tank runs dry anyway). No, this isn’t going to be a grill centric recipe, but rather a side dish that is a great compliment to a grilled piece of meat or burgers. I first found the recipe here when I was surfing TasteSpotting one day. I had all of the ingredients and was looking for something to do with my parsley that was abundant in my herb garden. I tweaked the recipe slightly to include fresh oregano and chickpeas instead of beans.

::Easy Chickpea Salad::

Mix the following in a bowl and enjoy. It is a bit tastier if you let it sit for a spell so that the flavors combine. It’s a great dish for a picnic because you don’t need to worry about refrigeration.

1 can of chickpeas (or white beans)
1 Tb evoo
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
small bunch fresh parsley
small bunch of fresh oregano (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
s & p to taste

Cook often and eat well!

Advertisements
 

|PIZZA FRIDAY: TOPPINGS| 06/29/2011

Filed under: BASIL,cheese,OREGANO,Pizza,Savory,THYME — |FreshHerbs| @ 8:52 pm

Well now, I’ve gone and given you pizza dough without anything to put on it! {hand slap} But before we get to that, a word about the right equipment. I can’t tell you how many times I spent the wee hours scraping blackened, sticky, gooey “piles of would-be-pizza” off my really lovely W-S pizza stone. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the home chef… My mother has always sworn by a well-oiled stone. Not for me. I always found the more I oiled, the more rancid the smell which permeated the kitchen/oven/other baked goods. [If you know that rancid smell of which I speak, and have a high quality stone, you can actually clean the stone quite well by running it through the self-cleaning oven cycle.  The super high temp bakes the crappies right out of the stone. Looks practically new!]

The best way I’ve found to get pizza on and off the stone is to actually assemble the pizza and cook it on tinfoil. I still get the crispy goodness that pizza crust is capable of without the mess and residue on my stone (plus you can wrap leftovers in the foil). The key is to heat the stone up with the oven. Putting cold dough on a cold stone then putting it in the hot oven just fuses the dough to the stone. THAT’S where I was going wrong all these years. You will need to use a peel (that paddle thing that pizzerias use to slide their pizzas in/out of their pizza ovens) to get your tinfoil/pizza combo onto the stone. I don’t have a peel so I use an air bake cookie sheet. Presto!

So rolling out your dough is key. Liberally flour a clean space on your counter, and dust your dough ball. Flatten the dough by hand into a thick disk (or square if you prefer) and then get out your rolling pin. The dough will have a tendency to shrink back into itself as you roll if it’s too cold, so make sure its close to room temp. Roll the dough out into your desired shape, flipping the dough to roll on both sides. Transfer to your peel lined with enough foil to cover your stone and fit your dough. And now, we top…

If I discover a really good recipe for homemade pizza sauce I’ll share it {mental note to look for one} but I’ve found a favorite store bought sauce that I adore so I keep it simple [remember, it’s PIZZA FRIDAY!]. I’ve experimented will all kinds of pizzas flavor combos and that’s the great thing about having pizza every week- experimentation! I sometimes even smear the dough with pesto before I add the sauce.

I like to sprinkle a little grated parmesan  over the sauce and then on top of the pie before it heads into the oven. Gives it a nice, cheesy depth of flavor. I like experimenting with mozzarella (store bought and from-scratch), pizza cheese combos from the market, and goat cheese. Those are my go toos.

As for toppings beyond the basics, I’m all for |Fresh Herbs| like basil, but I make a dried herb topping that I call “pizza shake” that’s an eyeballed mixture of:

dried oregano
garlic powder
dried basil
dried thyme 

I shake that all over every pizza I make. So grab your sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, pepperoni, leftover chicken, artichokes, caramelized onions, peppers, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers… you get the picture.  Experiment, have fun!

Do I run the risk of eating too much pizza? Of taking the fun out of looking forward to pizza because I know its coming every Friday? Maybe, but I’m willing to take the risk…what are you having for dinner this Friday night? Cook often and eat well!