Bruschetta Pizza

At our house, we eat a lot of pizza because it is one of my favorite meals.  We always have pitas in the freezer so that we can throw together personal pizzas using whatever we have on hand.   With so many tomatoes ripening in the garden, we decided to make bruschetta pizza.  Here’s the basic recipe, although it can definitely be adapted 🙂

Bruschetta Pizza

Ingredients:

  • greek pocketless pitas (or, if you’re ambitious, homemade crust)
  • olive oil
  • garlic (we used 1 large clove for 3 pitas)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • basil
  • mozzarella cheese (we used regular but buffalo mozzarella would also be great)

Instructions:

Use a garlic press and spread garlic on each of the pitas.  Drizzle each pita with a small amount of olive oil.  Cut tomatoes into quarters or eighths and spread over pitas.  Rip up basil leaves and spread over pitas.  Top each pita with grated mozzarella cheese.  Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 14-16 minutes, then set oven to broil until cheese is browned. Chives or onions would also go well on this pizza, but we wanted to keep things simple so didn’t add any.

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Braised Kale with Bacon and Cider

So we grew kale for the first time this year but we weren’t really sure how to eat it.  I looked online for some ideas the other day and found a recipe for Braised Kale with Bacon and Cider on the Cooking Light website (check out the other recipes as well – the Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes looks delicious).  Since we were having ribs and this recipe was supposed to go well with pork, it sounded perfect.  Here’s a picture of the kale before it was chopped and cooked and a copy of the recipe.

Braised Kale with Bacon and Cider (from the Cooking Light website)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bacon slices
  • 1 1/4 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1 (1-pound) bag chopped kale
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Granny Smith apple (about 10 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Place a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon; cook 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add kale, and cook 5 minutes or until wilted, stirring frequently. Add cider and vinegar; cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add apple, salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bacon.

As usual, I never follow a recipe exactly, especially since I am usually missing at least one ingredient. I didn’t use a pound of kale, maybe half that (there’s only two of us afterall!).  I used about a quarter of a pack of bacon instead of two slices (because in my opinion you can’t really go wrong with bacon), 3/4 of a granny smith apple and a teaspoon of white vinegar because we didn’t have any apple cider vinegar.  For the cider, we used Strongbow, but it might have turned out better with a sweeter cider. Here is a picture of the final product and our meal (the beans are also from the garden).

So overall, both Brian and I thought it was quite good and it did go very well with the ribs.  It turns out that kale tastes kinda like broccoli, and is less bitter than swiss chard so it is probably easier to cook with.   Next up, I am going to try adding it to a creamy pasta sauce. 🙂

Rainbow Tomato Caprese Salad

I’ve been waiting all summer for all three varieties of cherry tomatoes to ripen, and it finally happened:) I’m super excited to use them in salads because they have a high ornamental factor and because garden tomatoes taste so much better than store bought!

Now that its been a few months since our vacation to Italy, I’ve been craving Caprese Salad in particular.   Its one of my favorite types of salad (which maybe has something to do with the quantity of cheese and lack of lettuce) and it’s excellent when it’s made with fresh, good quality ingredients. I have been trying to track down some some good quality buffalo mozzarella since usually I am stuck using bocconcini (I don’t find it as flavorful).  I finally found some at Costco last weekend and with a rainbow of ripe tomatoes,  it was time to make Caprese Salad!

Like the bruschetta from my earlier post, there’s no recipe with specific amounts. All you need is three main ingredients, tomatoes, basil and fresh buffalo mozzarella, in whatever quantity you choose. If you’d like, you can drizzle with good quality olive oil or balsamic reduction to serve.  The challenge with the cherry tomatoes is assembling everything on the plate in an organized artful manner.  Luckily I had Brian to help with that:)

Here are a couple links to previous posts with info on the variety of tomato plants I grew:

https://howsitgrowing.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/seed-starting-time/

https://howsitgrowing.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/update-on-seedlings/

Garden Bruschetta

With an abundance of tomatoes from the garden, we’ve been using them in all sorts of things.  I made this bruschetta the other day using ingredients from the garden. The only ingredient that didn’t come from the garden is the garlic (next year I plan to plant some though!).  I sometimes find the standard bruschetta we make a little too oniony, so the mild onion flavor from the chives was a nice change.  Below is the basic recipe.  I didn’t keep track of quantities, but I would recommend using whatever quantity you like based on personal preference anyways 🙂

Ingredients: Cherry tomatoes, basil, chives and 1 clove of garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions:  Slice the tomatoes into quarters, rip up the basil leaves and chop the chives to whatever size you like.  Dice the garlic or use a garlic press.  Combine all ingredients and let flavors mix. Cut the baguette into slices and toast them in the oven using the broil setting. You can drizzle the bread with good olive oil before spooning on the bruschetta, but this is optional.  Serve pre-assembled on a tray or put out a basket of toasted bread and the bowl of bruschetta and let everyone assemble their own.

The final product:

Ground Cherry Salsa

So the ground cherries are falling on the ground ripe, but I can’t say that I am the biggest fan (Brian and Mika have no complaints though!)  They taste kind of citrusy and maybe a bit tropical, but aren’t really too sweet. They do resemble tomatoes and kind of have the same texture. Anyways, since I wasn’t about to eat handfuls straight from the garden, I did a bit of online research to look for recipe ideas.  I found a couple websites that suggested making salsa among other things (e.g., pie and compote).   I adapted a few salsa recipes so that it worked for what we had in the garden and it turned out well. I think it lasted maybe 10 minutes when I served it last week at a bbq 🙂

Here’s the recipe I ended up using:

  • 1 cup husked ground cherries. Cut them into halves or quarters.
  • 2 cups black cherry tomatoes (any tomatoes would probably do, but these ones were nice and sweet and worked well). Cut into eighths.
  • Half a super chili pepper (could add more if you like your salsa spicy, and substitute other types of chili peppers). Dice it up really small.
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced really small.
  • Juice of one lime
  • About 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

If you chop the tomatoes and leave them in a colander for about 1 hour the salsa doesn’t turn out too watery.  You can also throw the ground cherries and cilantro in the colander with the tomatoes and combine with the rest when you are ready to serve the salsa (I just had a bowl ready with the lime juice, hot pepper, sugar and salt and pepper and added the other ingredients to the bowl when I was ready to serve it).

We had the first three ingredients in the garden, but had to get the last few at the store (I didn’t grow cilantro this year because most recipes call for so much that I never seem to have enough in my garden anyways). I will definitely be making this again.  It takes us about a week right now to collect enough ground cherries off of the plants to make the salsa, but it is worth the wait 🙂

Here is a picture of the ingredients…

the halved ground cherries…

black cherry tomatoes cut into eighths…

…and the end result! (half eaten already because I almost forgot to take a picture!)


Also, some fun facts about ground cherries: In doing my online research for recipe ideas, I found out that ground cherries grow wild in certain parts of the world. Apparently in Hawaii they grow along roads.  And apparently they are likely to self seed in the garden if you don’t pick up all the ground cherries.  Right now that doesn’t really seem like a bad thing! The ground cherries we grew are called Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries, and apparently they originate from Poland and are good for colder climates.  Also, they don’t need staking like tomatoes, and we found that the plant we have in a pot grows great.  Highly recommend growing this plant in your garden!