Garden Update and Garlic Scape Pesto

I’m really excited to report that I have a little bit of a garden this summer!  JI and MI were kind enough to give us the opportunity to use some empty space in their garden plot.  I planted a cucumber plant, a zucchini plant (for making bread for NES) and a basil plant.  Hopefully they will give me some fresh veggies this summer!  (Although, the cucumber plant has been dug up by something (squirrels!!) and won't be providing me with anything as of now.)

I also repotted all my herbs.  They were outgrowing the giant teacup they lived in last summer and over the winter.  I split them into individual pots, and am glad to say they are looking much happier!  The thyme leaves are actually big enough to use for cooking again, and the rosemary and oregano are growing again! 

Finally, at my first farmer’s market trip this summer, I found a hanging tomato plant!  It’s cherry tomatoes, but I’ve already had two tomatoes ripen! 

Now more about the farmer’s market.  I haven’t made it to our local farmer’s market yet this summer (busy weekends make it hard), but I managed to go near school last week!  I also ran into an acquaintance from undergrad, and got to catch up!  That was pretty cool.  Besides the tomato plant, I found fresh lettuce and cucumbers for salad, and garlic scapes! 
MS and PM grow lots of garlic, and they are always talking about how wonderful garlic scapes are.  I decided it was time to buy some. 

I made garlic scape pesto with them. 

I was a little concerned at first – it seemed pretty harsh.  But then I put it on pizza dough with some burrata cheese (fresh mozzarella with almost like a ricotta-like creamy cheese in the middle) and shredded mozzarella. 
Garlicky, but not too harsh, and just cheesy enough.  I think that’s a new pizza to add to my repertoire. 
Now, a little more about pizza.  

I had originally made the pizza dough for a grilled version of my potato pizza.  LDG had suggested the dough recipe to me -- and I'm really glad she did!  This is the easiest pizza dough ever: no kneading, no dealing with tempermental warm liquids to help the yeast along, just a little bit of thinking ahead.  
The stuff is really amazing.  I put it together with the 6 hour recipe around 11 a.m. and by dinner time, I had pizza dough. 
Mix.  Wait.  Spread.  It's really that easy.  

Now.  Grilled pizza, maybe not so easy.  
Really, it wasn't that hard.  I spread the dough, brushed it with olive oil, and on a medium high grill, I put it oil side down.  I let it cook until that side was starting to look cooked and starting to brown.  Next time, I think I'll leave it on a little longer.

This is where my problems started.  The dough, because of the rising process, is a bit soft: a.k.a. when I tried to put it on and pull it off the grill not once, but twice, it tended to stretch and rip.  Oops.  

I then flipped the dough, so the cooked side was up, and put on my toppings.  Mistake number two was using burrata cheese.  It tasted great, but did end up a little liquidy for a grilled pizza which was already hole-y in places.  

Then, back on the grill, this time to cook the underside, melt the cheese, and cook the toppings.  Mistake number three: I didn't cut the potatoes as thinly as possible, so some of them were a bit crunchy.  Oops.
Over all, it was an interesting experience.  It tasted good, and it was a great concept.  Maybe next time it'll look a little prettier.  

Lazy Pizza Dough
adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

There are three options for this dough: 
a.) 22 hour-ish dough (think a day ahead/overnight)
b.) 12 hour-ish dough (think all day)
c.) 6 hour-ish dough (think half the day)
Remember these letters.  They will come in handy for the recipe.

3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup water, plus a tbsp. or two extra (if necessary)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
active dry yeast according to the following:
    a.) 1/8 tsp.
    b.) 1/4 tsp.
    c.) 1/2 tsp.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  The dough will be rough, expect that.  However, if it seems excessively dry, add an extra tbsp. or two of water. 

Cover the bowl with plastic and keep at room temperature for:
     a.) 22 hours
     b.) 12 hours
     c.) 6 hours
Or, until the dough is more than doubled in size.  If the room is chilly, it will take longer.  If the room is warm, it will take less time.  

Flour the counter well, and scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the flour.  It should now be a loose, sticky dough.  Flour the top of the dough, and divide into two equal pieces.  

Form each piece into a ball and either stretch by allowing the bulk to stretch down from you hand several times, or wrap well in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze.  

Flour your fingers and press the stretched dough onto a greased pizza pan.  Top with any toppings you'd like.  

Bake at 375 (or higher if you like crispier pizza) until the crust is golden around the edges.  

Garlic Scape Pesto

10 garlic scapes, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or up to 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
approx. 1/2 cup olive oil
salt, to taste

Place the garlic scapes, 1/3 cup of cheese, and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a food processor.  Allow to chop and blend all the ingredients.  

Add the remaining oil and/or cheese to bring it to the right texture.  Add salt to taste.  

Extra pesto can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for several months.


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