June 26, 2012

Pizza Season!

Summer means pizza around here.

There's no better way to carry all that goodness coming off the farm to your mouth than a good crust covered with cheese.

The latest creation took some of the arugula, now flowering, and thus, done for the season (sad face), and made it something to photograph.

Here is said flowering arugula. So pretty. But, again, so sad. (We are letting this bed flower, however, to hope to save the seed for next year. Jacob's been really into helping figure out how to create a more sustainable seed supply for both our farm and for our region.)

Aforementioned really something of a pizza.

This pizza was a bit of a mashup. I took this favorite salad recipe (the famous Prado Pressed Salad) as inspiration and combined it with an awesome pizza I had once at Missoula's Biga Pizza and just ran with it.

Here, again, is the dough recipe from Mark Bittman.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed (*Only, I use one cup all-purpose and two cups Prairie Heritage Farm whole Sonora wheat flour. Naturally.)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

I just put the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse for a second or two. Then, add the olive oil and drizzle in about a cup (or a cup and a 1/2) of water until the mixture forms a ball. Take out the ball and knead it on a floured surface 10-15 times and then put it in an oiled bowl and cover and let it rise about 2 hours. Then, I divide it into two chunks, let it rise again for 10 minutes or so, roll it out, put it on a pizza peel (covered in cornmeal or, see note below about parchment) and top it.

Bake on a super hot pizza stone (preheated to 500 degrees) for 9-10 minutes.

On top of this pizza was:

-A drizzle of olive oil
-Sea salt
-Cracked pepper
-Rosemary (I prefer fresh, but went with dried this time)
-Sliced dried figs
-Sliced shallots
-A handful of walnuts
-Crumbled Cambozola cheese
-A sprinkling of Parmesan
-Fresh arugula piled on top after the baking

The second pizza was sausage, onion, our first picking of spinach and mozzarella.

Also quite lovely.

P.S. I recently started putting the rolled dough on parchment paper and then putting it on the pizza peel, rather than using cornmeal to get the pie to slide off into the oven. I haven't burned my arm since I started doing that and while I do miss the cornmeal crunch, my arms, and my nerves are much better for it. (One of the only times I slip and say the f word around the toddler is when I'm trying to get my perfectly created pizza to slide onto a pizza stone only to end up with a misshapen hunk of dough and cheese and spinach or something.)

P.P.S. These lovely things were grilled on the grill (so I did use cornmeal on the peel). We put our pizza stone (which is actually a few unglazed quarry tiles) on the grill and heated the sucker up. (Because as much as we love pizza in the summer, my body does not like the heat of a 500 degree oven in the middle of summer.)

The pizza took a little longer on the grill (like 10-12 minutes), but it gave it a super yummy crunch. And, I didn't pit out while making it either. Win, win.

And, I promise, this face isn't an indication of the goodness of the pizza. In fact, this pizza prompted a new phrase: "I like it!" which sounds a bit more like, "Awee LIE-EE-K! it." (Or, maybe that's "I don't like it." Hmmm.)

June 14, 2012

A Week With A Small Farm Family

Photo dump! 

In case you're as scattered as I am and just want to look at something and not think for a second, I give you:

The week in pictures from a life cultivated and Prairie Heritage Farm...

Morning sun is about all we get in our otherwise, dark, dark, little house in town. Oh, what we wouldn't give to finally live out in the country. To live where we work the land.

We're working on it. But for now, we have all the stresses and risks of running a small farm with few of the perks, like you know, waking up with the sun streaming through the windows, or picking fresh veggies from your backyard for dinner, or playing, whenever you want, in the dirt with your daughter.

Someday, little one, some day.

For now though, we spend a lot of time outside to pretend like we live on a farm. As much as we can, we get outside to the farm itself, and every other waking moment we get outside in the backyard.

(Happy Father's Day, by the way, to this guy. What an awesome Papa he is.)

Or, we grab some valuable time at the park.
This is Willa's new "smile." Ask her to smile for the camera and she goes one step too far turning that frown upside down with her hands. 

 Last Wednesday, we hit the road to see Auntie Hannah graduate. Only the cool kids were allowed on the trip.
We met some nice chickens at the Museum of the Rockies, where we wandered through Jacob's favorite museum exhibit of all time: The Living History Farm. He said, at least twice, and wistfully, "I think I was born at the wrong time." 

If this guy had a time travel device, he would so be living on a turn-of-the-century (and I mean last century) farm, wearing suspenders and doing everything by hand. (See the photo in this post as evidence.) Jacob, of course, chatted it up with the farm folks and ended up leaving with some seedlings of an old variety of red orach, a red spinachy-kind of leafy veggie.

 And, the whole family got to practice their Willa smiles.

And finally, Willa and I got some farm time in this week. (We're home a lot these days while Papa toils in the dirt, given my whole online editing job, which you know, requires an Internet connection, which is absent at the farm.) You can almost hear things growing out there. (The weeds too though.)

Willa and I took care of some little bunches of chives that were buried under a mountain of quack grass while we were out there. And, oh, it felt good to dig and pull and smell and talk about what dirt and sun do for plants and which plants are yummy and which ones are yuck. 

It's a dandy thing, hanging out with a kid on a farm.

And, don't tell my husband, but I really miss the whole manual labor side of the farming thing, a lot, even the weeding part.

This is what we'll be doing again this weekend: driving first to Great Falls on Friday to deliver fresh veggies to our awesome customers there and then on to Helena for the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning, where we meet up with more awesome farm share customers and watch Jacob build up his quads using a bike-powered flour mill to get the fine people of Helena freshly-ground, flour from organic, heritage wheat. 

Nothing like it.


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