Monday, May 9, 2011

Whole Wheat Pita Pizzas, Radish Cesar, and Spiced Carrot Soup

We continue with our challenge to ourselves to eat all of our vegetables by Wednesday. Yesterday at dinner, we used up ALL the carrots, half the romaine, most of the radishes, and almost all of the basil. I thought I was sick of carrots and I was dreading having to eat another bunch of carrots, but I made soup with them and it was delicious. Carrot soup is a whole different animal than whole carrots, and this is my special recipe that has a couple of unusual carrot soup ingredients. For our pizzas, we used some of the tomato salad/tomato a la checca that we made in the morning plus a little but of leftover canned tomato sauce. We will definitely make them again! The sauce a la checca (uncooked tomatoes with basil) was really flavorful on the pita pizzas, especially because we used meyer lemon infused olive oil. Here are the recipes:

Spiced Carrot Soup

2 bunches CSA/farmer's market carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 russet potato, chopped the same size as the carrots
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 large clove chopped garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp five spice powder
juice of one orange (or 1/4 cup store-bought OJ)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
salt and pepper
Vegetable broth (we use Better than Boullioun, which is a concentrated vegetable paste you mix with water)

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add carrots and potatoes. If you aren't using better than boullion or cubes, make it a saucepan of vegetable broth. If your vegetable broth is really salty, do half broth and half water. Meanwhile, heat oil in another saucepan and begin sauteeing onions, garlic, and ginger. After a few minutes of sauteeing, add 1 tsp black mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start popping, turn down the heat or if you have a stupid electric stove like we do, take the pot off the heat because it won't reduce fast enough and you don't want to burn the seeds. When the carrots and potato pieces are soft, drain them, reserving the cooking liquid. I've read that using the cooking liquid retains nutrients, and that using water potatoes have been cooked in helps with texture. Add carrots and potatoes to onion-garlic-ginger-mustard seed mixture and cover with reserved water. Mix in five spice powder, honey and salt and pepper to taste. At this point, if your cooking water is not vegetable broth, add better than boullion or a cube and stir to dissolve. Bring soup to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Use an immersion blender to blend it in the pot, or remove it to a food processor and puree it. Simmer soup for as long as you'd like -- soup is better the longer it simmers.

Whole Wheat Pita Pizza

1 big heirloom tomato, diced
2 tbsp lemon-infused olive oil (or 2 tbsp olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon, and little lemon zest)
salt and pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
3 whole wheat pitas
1 cup shredded mozarrella
however many black olives you like on your pizza

Combine diced tomato, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and basil, and let them sit together for a good half an hour or more. Top pitas with mozzarella, tomato-basil mixture, and olives. Broil until good and melted and crispy. Don't drop it on the floor like we did, or you will be sad.

Tarragon Caesar with Radish

Cut up and clean a bunch of romaine. Use a mandolin to slice radish and scallion. Use the finger protector so you don't cut your finger off (you live, you learn).

In a small bowl, mix together 1 Tbls. of mayonnaise and 2 Tbls buttermilk (or milk with a little lemon juice thrown in, which goes with the Caesar feel of this salad, and is easier than buying buttermilk). Add tarragon, Worcestershire sauce (if you can find it in your fridge; we couldn't), chopped garlic, salt and pepper, and a little olive oil (lemon flavored if you have it). Toss over the salad ingredients.

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