Ramp Green Pesto & Pizza | Pickled Ramps

ramp green pesto and burrata pizza
About this time last year, I discovered the beauty of baking pizzas naked and dressing them out of the oven with simple, light herb-and-cheese sauces. The benefits of this method are twofold: 1.) Liberated of toppings, the dough springs in the oven, emerging with dramatic crests and craters that so nicely cradle sauce and cheese. 2.) Ingredients, herbs especially, sprinkled on post baking retain their fresh, bright flavors.

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Some News: A Book

peasant bread

A little over a year ago, I received a comment on the peasant bread post that read:

I found your recipe quite some time ago. In the post, you had a link to a source for the Pyrex bowls. I just happened to find it on a day when the bowls were on sale for $1.99 each. I bought 48 of them! I baked bread and gave two bowls to each family at Christmas along with a copy of your recipe…

Nothing, of course, made me happier than to read that. When I shared my mother’s simple recipe in the PB post, I hoped people would discover how easy bread baking can be. But what I hoped for more than anything was that people would love the bread so much that they, too, would want to share it with others — neighbors, friends, or 24 family members.

Over the years, many people have written in noting their favorite adaptations of the peasant bread from simply adding herbs and cheese to making cinnamon-and-sugar monkey bread to doubling the recipe, baking it in three loaf pans, and making sandwich bread for the week.

Many people have had success with the recipe, but every day people write in with questions: Can the bread be mixed at night and baked in the morning? Can the dough travel, say, to a party, and be baked on the premises? Can the bread be doubled and halved, baked in other vessels? Can the dough be frozen?

Friends, I’m so excited to share some news. [Read more…]

Greek Easter in VT

lamb on spit

Last Friday, I packed the kids into our spaceship and zoomed north to celebrate Greek Easter with my aunt and uncle, who had been preparing for the occasion for days: dying eggs for the tsougrisma, rinsing and soaking intestines for the kokoretsi, preparing the spit for the lamb we would be roasting over the weekend.

Vermont, as always, was a dream. Here’s a little recap of the occasion:
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Pickled Egg Salad Toasts

pickled egg salad toasts with prosciutto

About this time of year every year, I wonder why I don’t make egg salad more often — it’s so good, it’s light (or can be at least), and it’s filled with protein to boot. Earlier this week, I made a recipe from Shed via Bon Appetit, and I am now wondering why for all these years I haven’t been pickling my hard-boiled eggs before turning them into salad. Yes, the pickling is more work, but the bite and flavor this extra step brings is well worth the effort, which, by the way, takes all of five minutes.

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Chez Panisse’s Famous Calzones

cut calzone

Before last week, I never would have described a calzone as light. Or as something that tastes like spring. Or as something I would consider serving to company, maybe sliced into rounds to reveal its oozing, cheesy goodness.

Well, leave it to Chez Panisse to create that very calzone, a six-inch round of pizza dough filled with a mix of goat cheese and mozzarella, minced scallions, parsley and garlic, and slivers of prosciutto.

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Holly’s Babka

baked and cut babka

Last week, I visited my friend Holly — yes, Holly of challah lore — for coffee, conversation, and of course, a little snack, a slice of babka from a loaf she had made the previous day. Upon serving it to me, she, as if she were any of the women in my family, instantly began critiquing it.

It’s very lovely, she acknowledged, but noted it was kind of fussy to make, so much work for what it was. I, content as ever, tucked in but was happy to hear I was in good company. The dough was denser than she had hoped, and she wondered if she could just use her challah dough recipe as a base, spread it with a chocolate filling or Nutella, and shape it like babka.

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Vergennes Laundry

front door

There’s nothing like a good stomach bug to make you appreciate health, to inspire an outing in sub-zero weather, to revive an appetite nourished by ginger ale and dry toast for too many hours.

Last Friday morning, after a day spent on my deathbed, my aunt, Wren and I drove to Vergennes Laundry, a wood-fired bakery located in a former laundromat in Vergennes, VT. Run by a husband and wife, this gem of a café is the kind of place you could lounge in all day, beginning with a latté and croissant, moving onto fresh-squeezed orange juice and cheddar-and-tarragon gougères, finishing with an espresso and chocolate crème fraîche truffle. Every bite will make you wish you lived two doors down and kindle dreams of opening up your own Vergennes Laundry, which your town (that you love dearly) so desperately needs.

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Garlic and Thyme Monkey Bread with Spicy Tomato Sauce

just-baked monkey bread

This past fall, a friend who was traveling, cooking and eating her way through Italy, sent me the loveliest book: Pasta, a collection of recipes from the kitchen of The American Academy in Rome. She had learned about the book and the story of the Rome Sustainable Food Project during her travels, and found the recipes in the book, many of which she made during her stay, matched the food she was eating out and about on a daily basis. [Read more…]