May 30, 2015

Pea and Asparagus Pesto Pizza

Pea and Asparagus Pesto Pizza

There are some things you should never put on pizza. Personally, I am a pepperoni and cheese kind of gal who doesn't stray far from the classics. Chicken, a fried egg or five types of meat on my pizza? Not for me, thanks. I am even hesitant about white sauce pizza. This time I gave peas a chance and tried something different. You would think as people get older they get less picky about foods. As I approach my third decade of life, I am learning that the older you get, the more you get set in your ways and enjoy the simpler things. One of those things is gardening. Even though my garden space is limited, I still love taking care of plants and having herbs on hand. The weather got chilly last weekend, so I had to bring the plants inside to protect them from the frost. The cat ate her breakfast with a garden view: 


As a birthday present, I was not disappointed in any way to receive a pot I had been eyeing at Loblaws. First of all, I loved the colour and secondly it is a huge stock pot. Yes, my birthday present was a cooking pot and not, well, the other kind of pot you would associate with wilder, younger days. Things aren't generally a big surprise around here either. When I say "eyeing," I was practically stroking it and saying how pretty it was every time I walked by it in the store. 

President's Choice ombre stock pot

On my birthday I went to a neighbourhood garage sale. I am definitely that person who is fascinated by other people's stuff. When I'm at the grocery store I do a once over of other people's carts and I if I ever rented an Airbnb I would totally do this. So going to garage sales is fun for me even if I'm only looking at what people are selling. Does that sound creepy? 

pink cake with buttercream roses

After we came home with a garage sale haul, Mike got to cooking some brisket we picked up on the way home. And then he made me that wonderful pink cake. He actually knew how to bake way before I ever started baking for myself, so I wasn't surprised he could pull off a whole cake. I didn't even have to intervene with the piping. Then the rest of my birthday wasn't too crazy after that. I protected my plants from the forces of nature, went snooping around other people's stuff and ate some food. I sound more and more boring each day. Right now I'm alright with the age I am and staying where I am (and not thinking about big birthday milestones like next year). 


Speaking of crazy, I made a pizza with peas on it. Stay with me here, this is crazy. I have apparently re-discovered frozen peas. After not buying them for years, I bought a bag the other day and have been putting them in everything. They work with so many recipes. I saw this recipe for pizza and liked the idea of a "green" pizza even though I normally stick to "plain." The pizza has no tomato sauce and feta cheese instead of mozzarella. Somehow it works. The saltiness of the cheese mixed with the savoury pesto and hint of acidity in the vegetables--that are first tossed in lemon juice--drizzled with a bit of olive oil on top, makes a refreshing pizza. 

Pea and asparagus green pesto pizza

Pea and Asparagus Pesto Pizza
Ingredients:

1 pre-made or frozen pizza dough
1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas
1/2 of a zucchini, sliced
4-5 asparagus spears, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt, pepper, fresh mint or basil for topping
1/2 cup pesto (see recipe below) 


Directions:

1. Marinate the asparagus and zucchini in a bowl with 1 tsp of olive oil, the lemon juice, salt, pepper and a dash of chilli powder. Leave for 10 minutes.
2. Roll out the pizza dough. Add the pesto first, and then the vegetables and lastly the cheese on to the pizza. Sprinkle a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of fresh basil or mint on top of the pizza. Bake for 15 minutes at 400F.  

pizza dough


Pesto recipe
Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh mint
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add a touch of water if it is not coming together. Keep remaining pesto in the fridge for a few days or freeze. 

Pea, asparagus, feta pizza

Here is a genius tip for making pizza on a pizza stone with parchment paper. I have tried adding cornmeal and olive oil to the paddle before with no success. Every time the pizza sticks to the paddle and I can barely get it on the stone. Someone told me about using parchment paper on the pizza stone. You still get a crispy crust even when the pizza is not cooked directly on the stone. My new trick is to make the pizza on parchment paper on the paddle and then transfer the whole thing to the pizza stone. Then I cook the pizza for about 5 minutes until the crust has slightly cooked and pull out the parchment paper. It doesn't stick and I get a combination of crispiness from the parchment paper and stone contact. No more hassle.

Asparagus spring pea pizza with pesto

If this was one of those "things you need to learn before you turn 30" articles, then I would recommend learning how to make a fine pizza instead of ordering in. Also, learn how to take care of a plant or two before you attempt other creatures. Lastly, don't stop being creative and always keep your mind open to learning and trying new things. 

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