What a spring! Mild temperatures, forgiving rain and bursts of heat that make the flowers, vegetables and all that’s in between lush and bountiful.
Now make it stop!
It’s like we never learn our lesson from year to year. We predictably get unpredictable weather, and from sown seed to full maturity we have a spring bounty that bolts and spoils. Ugh.
What makes this year different is that we have some lovely folks that live and work with us to share the burden of having too much produce. Our talented Chloe Tucker (as seen on our meet us page) is never afraid to to get dirty and share in the work around Farm 51. Her talents, and there are many, lent itself to a delicious arugula pesto. So delicious that Roscoe the dog opened the refrigerator door and helped himself to it. Like, all of it.
Luckily, we have so much arugula that we salvaged the recipe and made more, a few different ways, with a few different applications. All of the deliciousness stems from one homegrown, peppery ingredient: Arugula.
Arugula Pesto by Chloe Tucker
Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
What you Need
A big bunch of arugula
Two cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 lemon, or to taste or 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, walnuts or sunflower seeds (really whatever type of oily nut or seed you have handy, this recipe isn’t too picky)
coarse salt + pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
From Chloe Tucker herself:
OK! So first you have to set up the food processor.
Is it all plugged in with all the pieces in place? This is seriously the trickiest part. Good.
Then wash and drain the arugula, maybe 1/2 lb or 5 handfuls, whichever comes first. It seems like a lot but don’t worry! The food processor can deal with it. Toast your nuts. Keep your eye on them because they won’t taste as good if they burn. Shake the pan a few times: they’ll release their own oil as they cook so no need to grease the pan. While they’re toasting, cram the arugula in the food processor and pulse it with 3 T olive oil and the juice of half a lemon (no seeds!). Throw in 2-3 garlic cloves and about 1t salt and 1/2 t pepper (but these are to taste). Pulse, pulse, pulse and now throw in the seeds or nuts and pulse some more. taste it and add whatever’s missing (probably salt if you’re like me).
The uses? Serve over gnocci, spaghetti, over fried eggs, tossed with steamed veggies, with some extra vinegar for a salad dressing. Or…
Making pizza is still relatively new to me. Actually, a lot of this organic gardening stuff is. Growing up, pizza was always a phone call away, or a drive down Route 1&9 to the Pizza Hut, or better yet, served with an animatronic Chuck-E-Cheese Band.
But in all actuality, it’s simple, romantic and damn worth the wait and effort to make it yourself and cooked over a hot grill.
Grilled Friggin’ Pizza
Dough Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
You can do this by hand, standing mixer or food processor. Me? I use a food processor with the dough blade.
What you Need
3 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
1 packet of active yeast
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of warm water (110 Degrees)
1 T of Farm 51 Honey (optional)
For the dough
Dissolve honey in warm water. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on and pulse. add 1 cup warm sweet water and the oil through the feed tube.
Pulse, adding more water until the food processor rumbles and the dough is formed into a ball. Dough too dry? add more water and process. Dough too wet? Add a little more bread flour.
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a moist towel; let rise until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. I usually let it rise in a recently warmed but inactive oven.
Now is a good time to prepare your grill if using charcoal!
When the dough is ready, form it into a ball and divide it into 2 or more pieces if you like; roll each piece into a round ball. You can let rest and rise again for an additional 20 minutes, or just make the damn pizza already.
Roll out the doughs using a rolling pin or toss the dough using your knuckles to gently separate and thin the dough. Toss in the air in an orbital motion if you’re a pro.
Set the dough on a pizza peel, or use the back of a cookie sheet. I like to sprinkle corn meal on the bottom before I lay my crust to give it an extra smokey crunch when it cooks on the hot grill.
Carefully slide the dough onto the hot grill and cover. Cook until the dough is easily separated from the grill and not burnt, blackened or over coked. Flip. Top your pizza with your favorite toppings. Keep the liquid sauces at a minimum otherwise your pizza will be a hot soggy mess.
For our two pizzas? We used a teaspoon of arugula pesto and parmasean for one. A teaspoon of marinara and mozzarella with fresh oregano and wilted arugula on top. Cut using a pizza wheel or scissors. Serve immediately hot with a cold beer, or room temperature for breakfast the next day with a fried egg on top.
You pickin’ up what I’m putting down? Good.
Now eat this!