Posts Tagged ‘Papa’s Orchard’

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.*

Peach Hoarding and Fridge-Clearing Suppers

Monday, August 18th, 2008

This weekend we made only a quick stop at the West End Market, a rare break from the market-hopping marathons I’ve been filling our summer weekends with. Then again, we were just at the new Old Town market on Wednesday, although we were restrained there with just a few peaches and apples purchased. Since two of my favorite peach vendors were there, D&S and Bigg Riggs, I intended to do a taste-test. I have a theory that Southern Maryland peaches are addictive because they are planted on former tobacco land … but I have not had a chance to test them against WV and PA peaches at the same time. And since the toddler devoured both our Bigg Rigg’s peaches before we left the market, my taste-off plans were thwarted for now. My sherbet (below) did use a combination of supersweet Harris Orchard peaches from Southern Maryland, a variety they described as lower-acid and therefore sweeter tasting, and Papa’s Orchard donut peaches from Pa., which are his sweetest variety. Of those two, Harris was clearly in the lead.

Last week saw limited cooking in the FoodieTots house, as my mega-cold/sore throat dragged on for a second week, and was topped off with an oven deciding to quit working. Talk about a foodblogger’s worst nightmare – especially with the toddler’s 2nd birthday just around the corner! Here’s hoping we can get it fixed in time… We are also about to leave town for a week, so we spent the weekend cooking up as much of our lingering CSA and market produce as possible. One night, I cooked a rather unappetizing roasted eggplant salad — the oven only broils which resulted in over-roasting of the veggies. Fortunately dinner was salvaged with a fresh tomato, green bean & mozzarella salad over quinoa*.

The husband on Sunday whipped up a tasty peach teriyaki stir-fry of buffalo hot dogs, tomatillos, green beans and peppers. The sauce was garlic, fresh peaches and soy sauce* — again all served atop quinoa with grilled corn on the cob on the side.

And since the broken oven thwarted my peach blackberry cobbler plans, I broke in the new ice cream maker instead with a Peach Berry Sherbet – yum!

* quinoa and soy sauce were non-local.

Peach Berry Sherbet

Monday, August 18th, 2008

I had been suffering a serious case of foodblogger envy watching others whip up homemade ice cream treats this summer, so finally broke down and bought the KitchenAid ice cream attachment. I’ve gushed before about the wonderful local ice cream/custard/gelato treats we have available, but I’ve been wanting to experiment with healthier variations. Since the toddler seems to have inherited my family’s ice cream addiction — seriously, he woke up one morning recently requesting, “i skeem? i skeem?” — I wanted to try out some low sugar options. Using the sweet, ripe fruits at market right now makes that easier as they don’t require much added sweetener. For my first attempt, I decided to try a sherbet – the full fruit flavor of gelato, but with 2% milk instead of eggs. So it’s low fat too! I used honey under the theory that it requires less to match the sweetness of regular sugar, and was pleased that this turned out pleasantly sweet even with the tart blackberries. I was worried that the berries might overpower the peach flavor, but it turned out wonderfully balanced. It’s not as creamy as ice cream, but still a luscious summer treat.

Recipe: Peach Berry Sherbet

Ingredients:

  • 1 c water
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1 c berries (used 2/3c raspberries & 1/3 c blackberries)
  • 2.5 cups peaches
  • 1 c 2% milk

Instructions: Bring water and honey just to boil in small saucepan over high heat, stir to dissolve honey. Add berries, crushing with back of spoon and reduce to low simmer for 10 m. Remove from heat and strain through fine mesh sieve. Chill while preparing peaches.

Peel and dice peaches. Puree in food processor or blender until smooth, add milk and berry syrup and pulse until blended. Chill for at least 1 hour. Process in ice cream maker as instructed, freeze and enjoy! Makes about 1 qt., 4-6 servings.

Blend peaches, milk and berry syrup in food processor. Chill 1 hour. Freeze in ice cream maker.

Food Miles: This was 100% local! South Mountain Creamery milk 63mi., Toigo Orchards honey 114mi., Papa’s Orchard’s donut peaches 87mi., Harris Orchard’s supersweet peaches 24mi., Westmoreland Berry Farm black & raspberries 71mi. All but the milk (delivered) and Harris peaches were from Alexandria farmers markets — this recipe is being shared with the Farmers Market Report at the new “To Every Meal There is a Season”.