Monday, July 11, 2011

Thank you, summer.

Fresh, fresh, fresh.
It was a perfect summer evening tonight. Not because the sun was still out and the wind was low - in fact, it rained a little. No, it was perfect because we were lucky enough to have enjoyed a fresh raspberry pie with berries picked minutes before baking it. I'd never attempt to make a raspberry pie if I had to buy them in the store. It would cost a fortune. But, because our raspberry bushes are prosperous - and continue to be each year - we are thankful for the pie we ate tonight...and it's not even Thanksgiving. So, a big thank you to summer.

My grandma's crust and crumble topping.

Warm from the oven with French Vanilla!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Successful Tour!

Thank you to everyone who showed up to our backyard yesterday for Seattle Tilth's Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tour. We had around 150 people through and received great feedback on the use of garden and chicken coop space. Lots of folks took pictures and many more held the chickens who really enjoyed the attention. They were on their best behavior and pranced around for photo shoots.

We served jars of lemonade on the 70+ degree day and encouraged our visitors to pick a raspberry or two for their cold drink. For special visitors, we served a Blue Moon in a cold pint glass with an orange slice. It was a perfect day!

Looking forward to next year's tour! Hopefully people took home some great ideas for their own yards during their visit to the 50 urban farms on the tour this year.

I'll share a great article in The Seattle Times about the tour! The Seattle Times

Refreshments and lists of resources for guests.

Elias and his helper, Tess.

Our "head" of lettuce.

A little visitor holding Blondie.

Duke chillin' in the shade.

Duke finding more shade.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Makes a Really Good Pizza?

Elias' masterpiece.
Pizza was never my first choice. Only recently have I turned my attention to it; making my own, seeking out the best ingredients and getting quite picky about exactly what goes on it and what kind of crust is under it.
My personal favorite crust is a fluffy, crisp and thin one. Can I be any more specific? Yes, I can - I don't enjoy all the cornmeal that some recipes call for. Lately, if I have the time, I bust out a nice handmade crust. This can be particularly hard when you are a home-pizza-maker because it never quite tastes like your favorite pizzeria down the street. I don't have a hot, stone oven (but would LOVE to put one in my back yard), or fancy pizza stones. I actually just picked up my first pizza cutter with a cool, green handle. This little item has made my homemade pizza projects a little easier. However, I must be honest, I haven't quite perfected my crust and am still searching for the right one. But, at any rate, it's fun to make pizza at home. Everyone gets their own and dolls it up as they like.
Elias' favorite part: The Cheese!

If you're looking for a quick crust version, the good news is I recently found fresh dough in plastic at Trader Joe's for only $1.29. This has been an easy hit in our household. For one, it's inexpensive. Two, the wheat doesn't taste like crunchy dirt and, lastly, rolled thin this crust almost meets my criteria. (It does lack the fluff.)

Now for toppings. I'm a meatless pizza eater - unless they throw on some pancetta or prosciutto. However, I almost always never order the "veggie" pizza because it bores me. They lost me at olives and green peppers, which is most certainly always the first ingredients listed in a "veggie" pizza. I like funk. I like weird things like arugula and sprouts and even corn like they served me in Germany. I, also, prefer the extra virgin olive oil base over the tomato base. I'm a big fan of a well-made Margherita pizza with a garlic punch-in-the-face, followed up with basil, tomatoes and whole mozzarella. I don't shy away from a Greek pizza either, but leave the meat off. I like the Kalamata olives and garlic combo with lots of gooey cheese. You get the point here.

The interesting sprout idea came many years ago from The Village Pizza in Roslyn, WA. They sprinkled a thick row of sprouts around the edge of their gourmet pizza pie. It wasn't cooked with the pie, but added after. It was a wonderful and surprising treat and one I often dream about. Too bad they are over an hour away and my last visit to Roslyn I missed out because they were closed.

Ready to put in the oven.

Here are a few of my favorite pies at a couple local places. Try them out if you are out and about:

Tutta Bella (Seattle - 4 locations) has the crust down. Fluffy, thin and crisp - this is delightful and an all-time favorite. Try the Giovanni: olive oil base, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, prosciutto, arugula and shaved reggiano. You won't be disappointed Tutta Bella

Olympic Pizza (Seattle - Roosevelt Way) has some gooey pizza with a crispy, buttery crust. Any of their spinach, garlic, tomato combos are amazing. One pizza slice is all you need here because they don't skimp on ingredients. Try them out Seattle Olympic Pizza

Romios Pizza (Lots of locations) is the best delivery and I never veer off the Margherita pizza. There were times when it was hit or miss, but they've been nailing it recently. The best delivery in my opinion Romios Pizza