grilled pizza

September Market Must-Haves

Something about September and back-to-school got my eleven-year-old Market Sherpa daughter asking, "Is the Market ending soon?" Not on your life! It's still officially summer by the calendar, and we have weeks and weeks more fresh, local goodness ahead. Heck, there have still even been strawberries on Thursdays, and they're delicious.

But this time of year does bring the first apples:

Comfort me with apples at Collins

I stupidly only bought two of these new Honeycrisp apples last week, and the second my son tasted them, they were gone. Seriously, there is a difference between the first of the season and the ones which have been held in cold storage from last year. I'll be buying many more this week because I only got one stinking slice.

Fortunately, there were compensations for the apple shortage. I hope you all have been gorging on the peaches and nectarines and berries. The green pluots in the picture above were also a hit in my house.

And please tell me you're eating some tomatoes. I loved this stars-and-stripes style display on Saturday.

Here's a pointillist version.
One of my favorite cookbooks (Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) offers a "Farmer's Market Salad," which is essentially whatever's in season, chopped up in similar-sized chunks, tossed with some cubes of favorite cheese, fresh herbs, and a little olive oil and lemon juice. I've made it with tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, and even leftover cooked veggies like potatoes and beans.
Speaking of beans, I found two ladies talking excitedly over this bin of cranberry beans, which I've never had. I asked them how they liked to prepare them, and I was advised to shell them and steam or boil them just like green beans. Sounds like a great addition to the Farmer's Market Salad!
Slice courtesy of Veraci
Making my own fresh food with seasonal ingredients certainly doesn't preclude eating fresh food made by others with seasonal ingredients while we shop. I'm surprised there haven't been any parking lot muggings over Veraci Pizza--or am I the only one tempted when I see someone walking out with a box?
Not to be outdone, do take a look at a grilled pizza we made at home:
Yup. Apart from the dough, this can all be made with Market ingredients: tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella from Samish Bay. I used my husband's tomatoes, including putting some through a food mill and simmering them into sauce.
The trick with grilled pizza is to have all the toppings at the ready. Roll out the dough, slap it on the grill and close the lid for a few minutes. It'll puff up like crazy, but just flip it over, puncture it, if necessary, and top. A few more minutes and it's done! Slide onto a waiting pizza pan and listen to everyone groan with pleasure over the crisp, smoky crust.
So get on out to the Market this week and (to mix metaphors) find music for your tastebuds.

Try-New-Things Week

The red guy on the end

So I've mentioned my thing for Samish Bay's Ladysmith with Chives cheese on Saturdays. But when I went by this past weekend, their new, brick-red, paprika-coated Queso Anejo offering caught my eye. Novelty won out, and I went home with a hunk that I sliced up for some very tasty grilled-ham-and-cheese sandwiches.

Lovely red cheeses weren't the only new items I saw. In fact, I took to making a list of foods I hadn't yet tried yet this season or ever, in some cases! How many of the following can you check off the list?

  • Red Cabbage. Hmm...I think of this as a fall treat cooked with apples, but it would make a beautiful coleslaw.
  • Wax Beans. They look like yellow green beans and would make a beautiful salad mixed with the regular kind. A little vinegar, a little olive oil, a little dill and garlic, chopped tomatoes...
  • Eggplant. Both the skinny Japanese kind and little round ones are available now. I would serve these as I had them in Italy: sliced, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and grilled.
  • Kohlrabi.  (if you have a favorite kohlrabi recipe, I'd love to hear from you in the Comments!) Very odd-looking vegetable that can supposedly be eaten raw or prepared like broccoli stems.
Exactly. Bet you've never had it either. (Photo: Natural Health Solutions)

  • Flat Beans.They look like green beans that are left too long on the vine, but, unlike those, they're still tender and crisp. You can eat the pods or just pop out the beans. Raw or cooked.
  • Personal Watermelons. Round and dark green and darling. You can find these at Alvarez.
  • Fresh Mozzarella. If you have visions of serving up that quintessential summer salad, insalata Caprese, don't even think of using the Precious mozzarella from the store. It's got to be fresh mozzarella (floating in water) such as Samish Bay sells, vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh basil. Slice everything, alternate them on a plate like the colors in the Italian flag, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fresh mozzarella is also wonderful in the recipe below.

Keeping with the New theme, my family even tried a new dinner this week, born of my desire to keep the kitchen cool and the kids' desire to have pizza. We grilled pizza! Although it cooked faster than we imagined it would and the bottom got black, the kids were unanimous in declaring it some of the most delicious pizza they had tasted, and they've had some good ones (I'm looking at you, Veraci Pizza).

First, some tips:

  • Have all ingredients standing by and ready to go. Once you put the pizza dough on, the clock is ticking!
  • Use a grill pan/rack, greased with some olive oil.
  • Because the pizza only cooks for another minute or two once the toppings are put on, don't top your pizza with anything that isn't good raw. If you want Italian sausage, just pre-cook it. Don't like your onions crunchy? Pre-cook.

Okay? Now you're ready. For our pizzas I made my own dough in the bread machine. If you have a favorite recipe, use it. If you don't and don't want to try one, grab some uncooked pizza or bread dough from the store. Roll your dough out pretty thin, no bigger than the pan you will be using.

When everything is in place, throw your dough on the pan and put it on the grill. The crust is ready to flip over when it begins puffing up like a fresh tortilla. This doesn't take long!

Flip the crust, brush with sauce and top with toppings. Close the lid and cook until the cheese melts. All done!

Suggested toppings:
Pizza Margherita: sauce, sliced fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, sliced basil
Meat-Lovers: great pepperoni and sausage from the Market
Veggie-Lovers: sliced Walla Walla sweets, bell peppers, tomatoes, even pre-cooked potato slices!

So give something new a try this week. Ask your farmer for preparation suggestions, or hit up someone else you see buying the mysterious item--you won't be sorry!