Posts Tagged ‘pa’

Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza (and Curious Chef product review)

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I’ve written a lot about apples this fall, but I’d be remiss not to mention that other star of late autumn fruit stands: the pear. From crisp Asian pears, perfect for salads, to sweet Bartlett pears, poached for dessert, and the boy’s favorite, toddler-hand-sized Seckels, we’d be hard pressed to take sides in a pear-apple face-off. We always enjoy the samples offered by Papa’s Orchard at the West End Alexandria farmers market, and the boy has been known to devour a Seckel (or two) before finishing our stroll through the market.

These sweet and savory pizzas also feature two other of my local farmers market favorites, grassfed lamb sausage from Valentine’s Country Meats and fresh ricotta from Keswick Creamery. The pizza crust was made from frozen dough I picked up from the Italian Store for pizza-making emergencies. Of course you could make your own, if you prefer. There are few better ways to get kids into the kitchen than with make-your-own-pizza night. Thanks to the kid-sized tools from Curious Chef (see below), the boy was able to help with rolling out the dough, slicing the pears, and of course, decorating the pies.

Recipe: Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza

Ingredients:

  • pizza crust for 2 pizzas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb sausage
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sweet pears, thinly sliced
  • several fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • sea salt and black pepper

Instructions: In a skillet, crumble the sausage and cook over medium heat until browned. Drain excess drippings and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pizza crusts and place on baking sheet or pizza peel, if you have one. Spread several tablespoons of ricotta over the crusts, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, each. (If your ricotta is particularly moist, use less oil.) Spread pears and onions around, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper, and scatter sausage over the top. Drop a few more spoonfuls of ricotta over the pears. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Makes 2 pizzas. Enjoy!

curious chef pizza kitCurious Chef Product Review: We received the Curious Chef pizza kit to try out, as seen in the photos above. The boy was beyond trilled to have “my very own!” knife and rolling pin. The knife is made of sturdy plastic that actually can cut through an apple or pear, without fear of slicing off finger tips. Ever since our pizza making fun, when he sees me slicing something he gets out his own knife from his kitchen drawer and demands to help. The easy-grip handles make the tools perfect for small hands, and it’s nice to be able to set him up with his own cutting board and knife to keep him busy while I’m prepping the rest of the meal. Needless to say, Curious Chef gets a big thumbs up from the Foodie Tot. (My only complaint is that the white plastic isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s more kid-appropriate than stocking up on fancier, and more breakable, items from somewhere like Williams-Sonoma.) View the full product line (and safety information) at CuriousChef.com.

*Disclaimer: all reviews are the opinion solely of myself and my son, and are not financially compensated in any way.*

Bourbon Cherry Cobbler

Friday, July 10th, 2009

old wye mill mdA Southern Cherry Cobbler Recipe: The sour cherries we bought from Toigo last weekend went into a July 4th cobbler. I started with a recipe from 101 Cookbooks, the wonderful blog whose author is also responsible for the “Super Natural Recipe Search” button you may have noticed over on my left sidebar. I made a few additions — bourbon and corn meal — for a Southern twist. And the boy gets the credit for the blueberry polka dots, his contribution to create the requisite red, white and blue color scheme.

The corn meal, which is actual organic, local corn meal grown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and milled once a month at the Historic Wye Mill, is a fairly course grind so I pulsed it in a food processor with a pinch of tapioca starch to make more of a corn flour. I found the bourbon flavor more pronounced the next day, and you can certainly omit the bourbon for a more sober dessert.

Recipe: Bourbon Cherry Cobbler
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

toigo sour cherries

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sour cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch (or organic corn starch)
  • 1/3 cup corn meal, finely ground
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup organic buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon fair-trade bourbon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons organic butter, melted and cooled

Instructions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie pan and set aside. Gently toss together cherries, bourbon, starch and sugar in a bowl and set aside. Whisk together remaining dry ingredients. Separately, gently beat egg and combine with vanilla, buttermilk and butter. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Pour cherries into pie pan and dot with dollops of batter by the tablespoon, leaving a few gaps in between. (Optional, dot topping with blueberries or additional cherries.) Bake 20-22 minutes, until cherry liquid bubbles up and topping is lightly golden. Enjoy!

foodietot makes cherry cobbler

Farms of Origin: Toigo Orchard, PA (cherries), Westmoreland Berry Farms, VA (blueberries, hand-picked), Wye Mill, MD (organic corn meal), and a local egg from Tom the Cheese Guy, PA.

One Local Cherry Spare Ribs and Squash

Monday, July 6th, 2009

one local summer 2009We had a July 4th engagement party/barbecue to attend this year {congrats R & A!}, so the menu was out of our hands. The boy and I did make a cherry cobbler to take, though (recipe coming soon). And then we grilled Sunday night instead, a batch of Cheerwine-marinated spare ribs with eggplant and summer squash.

Cheerwine, for those who’ve never had it, is a cherry soda produced in North Carolina. We enjoyed routine deliveries while my little brother was stationed at Ft. Bragg, but have had it less frequently since he relocated.  While made outside the One Local Summer (OLS) 100ish-mile challenge border, we found it while stopping in a Food Lion on Virginia’s Northern Neck to stock up on another regional favorite, Northern Neck ginger ale. I don’t usually drink soda, let alone douse my dinner in high-fructose corn syrup*, but once a year or so we embrace our adopted Southern home and make Cheerwine ribs. This version used small pork spare ribs that were quickly grilled; lower and slower grilling will produce more tender ribs, but this was just fine for an easy meal to wrap up the long weekend. To up the health/OLS factor, we brushed the ribs with a fresh cherry glaze. I prefer a semi-tart cherry like Rainier or Queen Anne, but be warned that those produce a yellow sauce — so go with classic red cherries if you want that red color.

Recipe: Cheerwine Spare Ribs with Cherry Glaze

cheerwine marinated spare ribsIngredients:

Marinade:

  • 1.5 lb. pork spare ribs
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
  • 1 can Cheerwine (or other cherry cola)

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 spring onion, white portion, minced
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

cherry glazeIngredients: Season spare ribs with salt and pepper and place in shallow glass pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with scapes and pour Cheerwine over. Cover and let sit in refrigerator (turning if Cheerwine does not completely cover ribs) at least one hour, preferably half a day or longer. To make the glaze, put all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer on low until cherries are falling apart, about 20 minutes. Smash cherries with a fork or blend glaze in a food processor or blender until combined.

To cook the ribs, heat the grill to medium high. Reduce to medium and cook ribs for 3 minutes per side. Brush with cherry glaze and cook an additional minute per side. Serve with additional glaze (“cherry ketchup” for dipping if that appeals to your kids.) Serves 4. Enjoy!

cherry glazed ribs and grilled squash

Farms of Origin: Smith Meadows Farm (VA, spare ribs), Kuhn Orchard (PA, Queen Anne cherries), Potomac Vegetable Farms (VA, scapes, spring onion, zucchini), Three Way Farm (VA, eggplant, pattypan squash), VA honey. (*You can find glass-bottled Cheerwine made with the original cane sugar formula, but they’re even harder to come by this far north.)