Sourdough is really having a moment. A sweet friend gave me some of her sourdough starter. I made bread and it was delicious. I made rosemary crackers and I keep making them because they’re so scrumptious! It was just a matter of time until I tried my hand at sourdough pizza crust.
We’ve been making pizzas on a regular basis during quarantine. It’s fun and everyone gets to let their creativity flow into their pies. By the time we’re finished, flour is everywhere and toppings are scattered from one end of our kitchen to the other! We’ve made them on a pizza stone in the oven and on our Big Green Egg (for some reason, they always burn). I’ve checked out some of my fellow bakers’ Instagram accounts and admired their homemade pizzas made in wood-fired ovens or special pizza ovens. We’ve tried several dough recipes and techniques and last night we found our favorite so far!
The sourdough craze is making me crazy (among other things). It’s truly a love/hate relationship I have with my starter. I don’t want to love it but I do. Every single time I do the whole feeding process, I swear it’s my last. Then, I fall in love with it and I feed it and nurture it the way any good starter mama would. I came across a recipe for sourdough pizza crust on this cute site: Little Spoon Farm. I was intrigued because they use a cast iron skillet. I have nothing but love for my iron skillets so I knew I had to try it!
IT IS SO GOOD AND REALLY EASY TO MAKE! You get all the char and the dough has that slightly sour flavor while being light and airy with a crispy crust. We made a smaller, starter pizza to share and it cooked up really well too! You just can’t go wrong with pizza.
Carrie has been trying to eat less gluten so I made her a gluten free crust. I didn’t get a picture but it was also really delicious! Here are links to both recipes:
Homemade pizza is worth the mess and I know exactly what’s going into our pizzas. We also get to use a lot of local ingredients, so it’s just a win all the way around! These recipes are both fantastic! I hope you try them and feel free to let me know how you make pizza and your preferred toppings!
The biggest food day of the year is quickly approaching! Hello, Thanksgiving! The best holiday because it’s all about food, family and friends. For some, there’s also football but I’m in it for the food. Some people get stressed out about making “the meal” but I truly enjoy it! It’s the one time of year, I can make some of my family’s favorite dishes and eat all day long.
For the past several years, I’ve been getting as many local ingredients as possible from Countryside. Turkeys, herbs, eggs, flour, veggies, apple cider, breads, cheese–all the Thanksgiving necessities. That’s pretty normal for me all year long but it feels even more meaningful to support our farmers this time of year, as the colder months move in. It feels like one way to show how grateful we are for their hard work and dedication to our food system.
Sweet Potato Casserole is one of my oldest recipes. It’s mostly loved by my daughter, Hannah. I’ve been making this her entire life and it’s her thing at Thanksgiving. I often wonder if she wants to see me on Thanksgiving or just the Sweet Potato Casserole! Hey, a mama’s gotta do whatever she can to bribe, I mean encourage, her kids to come home!
When the big meal is over, Hannah and I have been known to have a serving of this casserole later in the evening just to top off our overly stuffed feeling! I usually make a batch for Thanksgiving and divide additional batches among smaller pans to send home with her.
It’s really simple and delicious! What makes it super perfect is that it CAN BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME AND STUCK IN THE FREEZER! If you’ve ever made the full Thanksgiving meal, you’re doing a happy dance right now! Seriously, it freezes well and all you have to do on Thanksgiving Day is pop it in the oven! You’re welcome!
This casserole is a sweet potato filling with a pecan brown sugar topping. Start with sweet potatoes, eggs, unsalted butter, vanilla, brown sugar, flour and pecans.
I’m making a few batches of this so you probably won’t need this many sweet potatoes! A normal recipe calls for about 6 large sweet potatoes. Bake the sweet potatoes until nice and soft and let them cool.
While they’re baking, make the topping. Combine the brown sugar and flour in a bowl then add the butter and use a pastry cutter to combine.
Chop the pecans. Yes, you can buy chopped pecans or use a food processor to chop pecan halves but I just like the whole process so I go old school and chop pecan halves with a knife. I enjoy it and I want to have nice big pieces! As usual, Daisy Mae had to see what was going on in my photo studio!
Add the chopped pecans to the flour, brown sugar, butter mixture and stir. The good news is that you can make this topping whenever you have time and just keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
When the sweet potatoes are cool, simply remove the skins and put the orange part in a mixer bowl. Add butter, eggs and a splash of vanilla. Mix it all up until smooth.
Put the whipped mixture into a baking dish. I always use the same white oval dish because it’s the Sweet Potato Casserole dish! As I was filling it up, it dawned on me that I want to freeze this for Thanksgiving but I also want to show you a picture of the final baked casserole.
Enter my white ramekins! I’ve never thought about using these for this casserole but how fun would that be? Especially, for a Friendsgiving! I love how personal and special these make this dish feel! I’m giving an old recipe an update! Woo hoo! That’s the kinda stuff I do!
Oh, the topping! You just sprinkle some on top and, if you’re like me and can’t get enough pecans, add a few more just to make it nice and crunchy and nutty. All that’s left is to do is bake it! Stick your dish or ramekins in the oven. If the top starts to get too brown, cover with foil.
When you dig into it, the filling is all fluffy and the brown sugar, butter and pecans have caramelized on top. It’s divine! It goes so well with all the other Thanksgiving dishes. I don’t want to play favorites but… it’s the prettiest of them all!
As I said before, I make extra to freeze and send off with Hannah or keep a little for myself to heat up on a cold January night.
Sweet Potato Casserole is not a new, trendy recipe but it’s one of my family’s most loved traditions for our Thanksgiving feast. I hope you’ll try it and include it in your celebration. Serve it in ramekins or a big baking dish. Either way, your guests will gobble it up and be grateful!
From the heart,
Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients
6 to 8 large sweet potatoes (baked)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter, diced
1 cup chopped pecans
Bake sweet potatoes until tender, let them cool then scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl.
Add butter, eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Pour into a buttered baking dish or ramekins.
Combine flour and brown sugar in a bowl and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your hands.
Stir in chopped pecans and sprinkle on top of the filling.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour (larger dish) and 45 minutes for ramekins. Serve warm. It reheats like a dream!
To make ahead and freeze: Do everything except bake it. Once it’s topped, cover your dish with foil and stick it in the freezer. Allow it to sit in the fridge overnight before you bake it. Put the dish in the oven while preheating if it’s cold so it doesn’t crack when placed in a hot oven. If the top starts to get too brown, simply cover it with foil while baking. You want the top to be nice and crisp but not burnt!
Today has been a great fall day! It was chilly this morning. I got up early, went to the gym then headed straight to the last Countryside outdoor market of the season (they move indoors over the winter). I got these beautiful flowers from Little Bean Farm and Larder. There’s kale in there! This bouquet instantly brought me some feel good and I skipped through the meadow, taking in all the crisp air and gorgeous views. I was intentional about my time this morning because I didn’t have to rush. That was a nice feeling!
While at the market, I also picked up some things for chili tonight. I decided to make two kinds: my traditional style chili using Beyond Meat in the Instant Pot and a new recipe I found that calls for pumpkin, bourbon and chipotle peppers.
It’s so yummy! If you’re looking for a unique chili recipe, this one’s a keeper. It comes together quickly with simple, healthy ingredients! It’s vegetarian and gluten free. Yay!
Sauté onion, garlic and red pepper in a little olive oil. Add chili powder, salt and cumin then pour in the bourbon. It smells amazing right about now!
I still have lots of homemade pumpkin purée so I added that, crushed tomatoes, beans, chipotle peppers and butternut squash. These colors match all the trees right now. Beautiful!
That’s it! It simmers for about 30-40 minutes which gave me plenty of time to whip up a pan of cornbread. I knew the chili would have some kick so I thought a little cornbread drizzled with my favorite Brighton Wool & Honey Raw Wildflower Honey would be the perfect sidekick.
It’s still chili but it’s different and I dig it! It’s thick and loaded with unique flavors and the cornbread with honey is the perfect accompaniment.
It’s raining and cold and I don’t even care. Kinda busy here inhaling this meal. Also, I’m really glad I worked out this morning!
We have trick-or-treat in our neighborhood tomorrow night and I’m pleased as punch this recipe made enough so I can enjoy the leftovers. I bet it’s even better tomorrow!
From the heart,
Pumpkin Chipotle Bourbon Chili Ingredients:
1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup bourbon
14 ounces pumpkin purée (either homemade or canned)
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 19-ounce can of black beans
1 19-ounce can of navy beans (you can use your favorite beans too!)
1 small butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers pureed with adobo sauce
Plain Greek yogurt, cilantro, onions for toppings
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is soft. Add the garlic and red pepper and continue to cook until the red pepper is soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chili powder, cumin, and sea salt and let it cook for 1 minute more.
3. Add the bourbon and bring to a boil.
4. Add the canned pumpkin, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, navy beans, butternut squash, pureed chipotle peppers and 2 cups of water and stir the pot well.
5. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender.
6. Season to taste with sea salt.
7. Serve with toppings of your choice. I highly recommend cornbread and honey for dunking!
Things have been a little hectic in our house lately as both my daughters started school this week. I’m sure many of you are facing the same brutal reality that summer break is coming to an end. Hannah and I hit the road Tuesday to move her into her dorm room. She is happily embarking on year 2 of college and I couldn’t be more proud (and kind of sad because I miss having her around)! I made the 9 hour drive back home on Wednesday and Carrie started third grade Thursday. Our school district has different buildings for different grade levels. Last year, Carrie was in a building that was first and second grades. This year, she switched to a much larger school for grades 3, 4 and 5. She was really excited and popped right up out of bed, ate breakfast and we were out the door no problem. When we got to school and she saw all the other kids, she seemed a little nervous (4th and 5th graders can be intimidating). Of course, she had a fantastic day, loves her new teachers and saw many of her friends! My sweet girl is growing up way too fast!
To help ease the transition from summer break to school days, I thought I’d surprise her with one of her favorite dishes for dinner and really celebrate her first day of third grade. I’ve made this Rustic Tomato Tart a couple times this summer. As a matter of fact, this is Carrie’s request for her birthday dinner every July. I snagged some gorgeous tomatoes from a farm stand in North Carolina on Wednesday and couldn’t wait to top off Carrie’s first day of school with a delicious summertime dinner!
As I started preparing the dough, it dawned on me that I could share this with everyone. I came across this recipe in Cooking Light several years ago and it has been a dish my family looks forward to every summer. It’s not fancy but it is so yummy! The preparation includes several steps but they are not hard and totally worth it; all that’s required is a little patience.
I didn’t capture photos of the dough making because I thought about posting it after I finished that part. The dough calls for fresh corn kernels (I just cut them right off the cob), a little lemon juice and sour cream. I toss all that into my little magic bullet to blend then add them to the flour, cornmeal, butter and salt. I use my hands to make the dough then roll it out between sheets of plastic wrap. I then put the rolled out piece of dough on a flat cookie sheet and stick it in the freezer until I’m ready to assemble. Today I made the dough early and left it in the freezer for a few hours. It works like a charm and makes dinner prep much easier to do this step ahead of time. My tip on cornmeal is to use coarse grind. It gives the dough a nice little crunch and I love it so much more than regular cornmeal in this recipe.
If you are already thinking this recipe sounds too complicated, stick with it! This tart is scrumptious and, once you try it, you’ll be looking for every reason to make it again.
I sliced the tomatoes then placed them on paper towels and salted them. The salt draws out some of the moisture. Then I grated the cheese, grabbed the dough, preheated the oven and started putting the whole thing together. Those are some good-looking tomatoes, huh? I like to use a combination but you can use whatever kind you have on hand.
Once I remove the plastic wrap from one side of the dough (it’s much easier to remove while the dough is frozen), I flip it onto a piece of parchment paper that is covered with the cornmeal. Next, I remove the other pieces of plastic wrap and start with the first layer of fontina cheese, fresh basil and flour. The scissors pictured here are amazing! They are herb scissors and they make life so easy! The flour gets sifted over the cheese to keep the crust from getting too soggy from those juicy tomatoes.
Here come the tomatoes! Just one layer for now and leave a little dough border. Beautiful!
One more sprinkle of flour then another layer of tomatoes.
This part is fun and where the term “rustic” comes in. Simply fold the dough around the tomatoes. See the flecks of cornmeal? You’re going to love the crunch!
Pop it in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. It will be golden brown and the tomatoes will be cooked. I like to sprinkle more cheese (yep) on top and let it melt for a few minutes at the end. Once I take it out of the oven, I top it with more fresh basil. It looks pretty and, truth be told, I could eat basil 24/7 when it’s tomato season! MORE BASIL!
There you have it! It’s fresh, healthy and delicious! Carrie LOVES this dish! Please don’t be intimidated by the numerous steps. Once you make it a couple times, you’ll find it’s really simple. Besides, you can’t mess it up because it’s rustic! Find something to celebrate this weekend and make this before all the tomatoes are gone. Let me know how it turns out!
From the heart, Shannon
Here’s the full recipe from Cooking Light. Again, I usually make the dough ahead of time.
Rustic Tomato Tart
1 1/2 pounds medium yellow tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 pounds medium red tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2-3 ears)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal (Bob’s Red Mill coarse grind is really good!)
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand 20 minutes; blot dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Place corn, juice, and sour cream in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup cornmeal, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add corn mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Knead gently 3 or 4 times.
Slightly overlap 2 (16-inch) sheets of plastic wrap (or parchment paper or wax paper) on a slightly damp surface. Place dough on plastic wrap; press into a 6-inch circle. Cover with 2 additional (16-inch) sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 14-inch circle; place on a large baking sheet in freezer 10 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; sprinkle paper with 1 tablespoon cornmeal. Remove 2 sheets of plastic wrap from dough. Place dough, plastic wrap side up, on baking sheet. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap.
Combine 2 tablespoons flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Arrange half the cheese on dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Top with basil. Using a sifter or sieve, sift 1 tablespoon flour mixture over cheese mixture. Arrange half of tomatoes over cheese mixture. Sift remaining flour mixture over tomatoes; top with remaining tomatoes. Fold edges of dough toward center; press to seal (dough will only partially cover tomatoes). Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until crust is brown; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with fresh basil and pepper.