Pesto Pizza with Bacon, Goat Cheese, and Arugula

A month or two ago, we were walking through downtown Milwaukee looking for somewhere to eat after visiting the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. We pretty much walked into the first sit-down place we saw, which was Millioke. As it turns out, we were a little out of place amongst the well-dressed businesspeople, dressed as we were in shorts and t-shirts with a toddler in tow, but they treated us well! They even gave us a semi-private room so we’d be out of the general traffic areas. (I don’t think their intent was to hide us; the room had a floor-to-ceiling glass wall/door looking out into the main part of the restaurant!)

All this exposition just to say I ordered their Prosciutto Arugula Flatbread, and it was amazing. Ever since then, I’ve been meaning to try something similar at home, and a few days ago I finally gave it a shot. I loosely based my attempt on Shutterbean’s Goat Cheese and Arugula Pizza, which uses a pesto sauce (whereas the flatbread at Millioke had a white sauce.) I made pesto from scratch using this recipe from Simply Recipes. My crust was thicker than a flatbread, since I just used the bread machine pizza dough recipe I always use for homemade pizza. I used bacon since it’s what I had in the house, but next time I’d really like to try some prosciutto. (The bacon was perfectly delicious, of course.) Oh, and I used a spinach/arugula mix because it’s all I could find at the grocery store. 😛

Not only was it the most photogenic meal I’ve made in awhile, but Kevin and Drake and I mowed through the entire thing in one sitting. Next time maybe I should make two!

Bacon Goat Cheese Arugula Pizza

Pesto Pizza with Bacon, Goat Cheese, and Arugula

4-5 slices bacon
pizza dough
3/4 cup pesto
5 oz. goat cheese
1 cup arugula
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice

Slice the bacon into about 1-inch pieces, and fry in a skillet for a few minutes (I like to stop while the bacon is still soft and chewy so it won’t get overly crispy in the oven). Roll out the pizza dough and spread the pesto onto it. Add the bacon pieces, then crumble the goat cheese over the pizza. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Mix the olive oil and lemon juice, then toss with the arugula. Let the pizza sit for a few minutes, then slice it and sprinkle the arugula over the top.

(I felt like a bit of a genius for thinking to slice the pizza before putting the arugula on, let me tell you.)

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Carrot Ginger Soup

One of my knitting friends mentioned a delicious carrot ginger soup she’d tried at a local restaurant, and I was intrigued by the idea, so I started looking for recipes online. I found this one, made a few tweaks, and ended up with something amazingly delicious.

I was also excited for the chance to see how my immersion blender could handle a huge pot of soup, because let’s face it, transferring hot soup to a blender or food processor in batches is a pain in the butt. Fortunately, the immersion blender did a great job of producing a very creamy soup. In fact, Kevin was wishing the soup was a little chunkier, so next time I’ll probably set some of the veggies aside before blending.

Be forewarned: this makes a LOT of soup. It’s almost all I was eating for the next few days. Next time I make it (and there WILL be a next time!) I may freeze half of it without the cream, then reheat at a later date and add the cream. (I suppose I could just cut the recipe in half, but it’s always nice to have delicious food waiting for me in the freezer!)

Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken broth

2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Salt and white pepper

Sour Cream (optional)

Green onions, sliced (optional)

 

Directions:

In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat and add onions. Cook and stir until the onions are translucent, then add garlic and cook while stirring for another minute. Add broth, carrots, celery, and ginger. Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots are tender. (I let mine simmer for about 30 minutes.)

Remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency, or blend in batches in a normal blender. (If freezing a portion of the soup, do so now. ) Stir in cream and heat soup over high heat until hot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with sour cream and green onions if desired.


Sour Cream and Cheese Quick Bread

I’ve been sort of lax on the blogging front, obviously. Part of the reason for that is I haven’t been cooking anything all that interesting for the past week or so. We’re in dire need of a grocery run, so we’ve just sort of been eating whatever is in the pantry and the fridge.

A few days ago, I finally got around to making a recipe I’ve been meaning to try for awhile: Quick Sour Cream Cheese Bread. I had just enough of a container of sour cream left over, and some Colby cheese. The bread probably would have been even tastier with cheddar or something else stronger than Colby, but it was still pretty darn good!

cheesebread

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of what it looks like sliced; I was impatient and cut the first few slices while it was still pretty warm, so they weren’t very attractive looking, and I can’t take one now because…all the bread is gone. 😛


Adventures in baby food

I’m not a hippie at all in most respects, but a surprising amount of my parenting choices sort of fall into the realm of hippie (although a lot of these choices seem to be coming back into the mainstream). We cloth diaper, co-sleep, breastfeed, and I’ve decided I want to make all of Drake’s baby food (although I did buy the rice cereal in a box. I read up on making that too, but I decided to buy it because I wasn’t sure the homemade stuff would have enough iron.)

Drake’s only had the rice cereal so far, except for a failed experiment with avocado yesterday. He kept making a face and kind of shuddering every time I gave him some, and didn’t seem to want to swallow it. So we switched to cereal, and then he started crying and I ended up breastfeeding him instead.

Last night I ran out to Buy Buy Baby and bought a couple of ice cube tray-type things for freezing baby food, then stopped at the grocery store to buy a bag of carrots. This afternoon while Drake was napping, I decided to try to make baby food out of said carrots.

I don’t own a steamer, but I decided that putting the carrots in a colander and putting that in a pot would be just as good. Since the colander was pretty much sitting on the bottom of the pot, I could only put maybe a centimeter (probably less) of water in the pot. In no time at all my water was boiling and my carrots were steaming away.

Instead of sitting around while the carrots cooked, I decided to clean up the kitchen a bit and do some dishes, periodically checking on the carrots. Eventually I noticed the smell of something burning. I turned off the heat on the stove, took the lid off the pot, and picked up the colander. All the water had boiled away and the sugars that had dripped down from the carrots had carbonized all over the bottom of the pot. Oops.

I put the pot in the sink to soak, and set out to puree the carrots. I thought it might be fun to use my handy-dandy immersion blender that I got for Christmas. Well…I don’t know if fun is the right word. No matter how hard I tried, there were some chunks of carrot that were determined to escape the blender’s blades. I think next time I’m just going to use the normal blender. (I refuse to by a “Baby Bullet” or the like; I don’t need another appliance taking up space in my kitchen when I already have plenty of other food-pulverizing devices at my disposal.)

Anyway, despite my setbacks, I did end up with enough puree to set some aside in a bowl for later today, and to fill all seven one-ounce compartments in the tray.

carrots

(Please excuse the bits of carrot splattered so unattractively all over the tray. Obviously my execution in spooning the puree into the compartments has a ways to go as well.)


Mexican Pulled Pork Quesadillas

A few days ago I had Real Mom Kitchen’s Mexican Pulled Pork cooking in the crock pot all day, making the house smell amazing. I’d made it once before and made burritos out of it, but Kevin was impatient waiting for the burritos to bake in the oven, so this time I made quesadillas instead.

quesadilla

(I couldn’t get to it with the camera before Kevin ate two slices.)

I don’t really have a recipe; I just made the pork as per Real Mom Kitchen’s recipe, then spooned a bit of the meat and some shredded Colby-Jack cheese into a flour tortilla, folded it in half, and fried it on each side in a little oil for a few minutes until nicely browned and melty. I ate mine with some salsa and sour cream for dipping. Mmmmmm.


Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

This is the second time I’ve made these cookies, and OMG are they amazing. Technically it’s the third time; I tried the same base oatmeal cookie recipe with chocolate chips last week because Kevin’s not a fan of fruit in his cookies. They were good, but not nearly as groin-grabbingly transcendent as these (in my opinion).

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on how big you make the cookies.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then add the oats and cranberries and mix well. Chill the dough for an hour or so in the fridge.

Scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet (I just rolled little dough-balls with my hands instead of scooping), leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft. Let cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!


Salsa Chicken

Oddly enough, I use my crock pot way more often now that I’m at home all day than I did when I was working at my job. With a commute added in, I couldn’t really do recipes that took less than 9-10 hours, and there are a lot of recipes with shorter cooking times (even on low) that I had to pass over.

Salsa chicken has become one of my favorite recipes to make in the crock pot. It has a very high ratio of deliciousness to effort.

IMG_2815small

I use Fake Ginger’s recipe. (Usually I don’t have taco seasoning in the house so I make my own.) I like to serve it over brown rice and fry up some tortilla strips to sprinkle on top. This time around, I also threw some green onions on there. Kevin raves every time I make this!