CHEF’D – Vegetarian Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.
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That big orange Chef’d box is so exciting!!!  Digging out the ingredients feel like a little foodie Christmas.  Today, I am posting about Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese.  I am a bit of a pizza fanatic and – honestly – a bit of a pizza snob.  I have posted LOTS & LOTS of pizza recipes – which can be seen HERE.  At any rate – as you can see from the recipe cards (above) – I opted to try both of their vegetarian pizzas & the tofu Parmigiana.   Randomly, I selected the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese to try for dinner last night – probably because I had never heard of or seen dried figs.  Look at the – below.  Like tiny, hard & wrinkled little figs.  I was intrigued!
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I continue to be entertained by the teeny portion ingredients provided – as I am delighted when they send way more than you need of some things.
As it turns out, I had leftover pizza dough of my own in the fridge & had accidentally used one of the two dough balls provided by Chef’d for a pizza I had made the night before (so I will be using my own dough to make the second Chef’d pizza).  No biggy.  The Chef’d pizza dough is fantastic & very close to my own so it will not make a huge difference.
Anyway – last night I rolled out the Chef’d dough & prepared the pizza as suggested with only three changes: 1) I only caramelized one of the two onions provided (because – while I love caramelized onions – I think they can get overpowering) and 2) I added crushed red pepper to the pizza (because I add it to almost everything) and 3) I did not add the arugula until the pizza was done – rather than wilting it in the oven.  A change I would make if I made this pizza again – and I might, because it was delicious – is that I would not add the sliced figs until the pizza was done. Goat cheese needs a lot of heat to get melty & my oven (likely needing calibration) burned them a bit.
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Sorry about the shitty, blurry photo!
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So – overall – I give an enthusiastic two thumbs up to this pizza.  It was REALLY easy to make, came together fast & the flavors worked very well together – with the added benefit of being sort of exotic.  Dried figs?  Who knew?
Here is my one caveat – I was able to eat this entire pizza – meant for two – all by myself without a lot of effort.  It had a nice, dense crust & might fill a person not suffering from my level of seasonal self-pity & not also inclined to self-medicate with food – but I shoved this entire fucker into my pie hole, in short order.  Sure – I was very full after that.  Maybe even a tad uncomfortably full – but, I think, had there been a person there sharing it with me last night, keeping me honest & shaming my gluttony and insisting on their half – I would have finished dinner a tad unsatisfied.  So – I would say this is more of a lunch portion for two.  Or suggest that folks maybe serve it with a robust side salad at dinner.  I mean – I am 5″5′ and – yes, FINE – fatter than I want to be – but I can still get into a 6.  I imagine that if my dining partner were to be a hungry, large man – he would have bitten my hand off if I’d tried to even taste this pizza.
On the other hand, swallowing feelings is an ugly business when manifested by swallowing food – so – maybe a little portion control is in order around here?   Lord knows I need to lose  few LBs and the holidays have just begun.  Having a delicious but finite amount of food to eat could be a really good thing.  Or, maybe if I loaded this bad boy up with BOTH the onions & used the double portion of goat cheese that was provided (the recipe only suggested using half) – maybe that would ratchet this yummy pizza up into the “dinner for two” range.  I don’t know.  All I do know is that there is another Chef’d pizza in my future & I am already emotionally prepped to want to eat the whole Goddamn thing.
And – fuck the world.  I just might!  I will report back when I have the pertinent information.
Until then – next up?  Tofu Parmigiana!
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PS – Chef’d has two holiday dinner options that you can customize – to serve 4 or 8.  Smoked Goose & Prime Rib.

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and Honey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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TODAY is the second anniversary of this blog!!!!  It is also my Moxie’s 5th birthday.  Isn’t she a character?   She is an amazing little rescue pup!

Now – as to crostini – they hardly require a recipe.  You can top them with whatever you like & in whatever quantity you prefer.   The title here says it all – Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and Honey.  Not a lot of mystery.

I want to say – just as an aside – that figs are almost IMPOSSIBLE to photograph poorly.  They are the supermodels of the food porn world!  Look at them!  Gorgeous!

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I used avocado honey that my friend Rose gave me – that she got  from a co-worker who is a beekeeper.  It is delicious!

So – without further ado – I give you Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and Honey!!

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Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and Honey

Quantities are really up to you & the amount of folks you are feeding.   I’d allot 2 or 3 per person.

INGREDIENTS

Baguette

Goat Cheese

Fresh figs – stemmed & quartered

Pistachio nuts

Honey

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spread some goat cheese on sliced baguette & arrange them on a cooking sheet.  You might want to press some pistachios into the cheese now as it might be neater.  Bake about 10 minutes or until the cheese softens & the bread begins to brown. Add pistachios – if you haven’t already – and top with fig quarters.  Drizzle with honey & serve!

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Fig & Gruyere Quesadilla with Balsamic Glaze & Honey or Fig, Spinach & Whipped Goat Cheese Pizza with Honey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I can’t resist figs now when I see them at the store.  They are beautiful to look at and so delicate & versatile – I love them.  But they tend to go bad fast so, when I buy them, I end up eating fig everything.  To extend their shelf life, I put them in a Ziplock baggy & put them in a single layer on a shelf in the fridge.  That seemed to add a day or two to their lifespan.

These are not really recipes.  These are really just suggested ways to use figs.

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Fig & Gruyere Quesadilla with Balsamic Glaze & Honey

INGREDIENTS

Flour tortilla

Gruyere cheese – sliced

Figs – sliced

Honey

Balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

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Bring some balsamic vinegar to a boil & then reduce to a simmer.  In 20 minutes – my 1/4 cup of balsamic reduced to only one or two teaspoons of glaze – so boil down an appropriate quantity.

Layer the cheese & figs on a tortilla, fold it over & grill it on both sides until the cheese melts & the tortilla browns.

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Slice it up & drizzle with honey & the balsamic glaze.  MMMMM!

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Fig, Spinach & Whipped Goat Cheese Pizza with Honey

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (mine is HERE)

Spinach

Figs – sliced

Mozzarella – grated

Goat Cheese

Cream cheese

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

To get whipped goat cheese – simple blend goat cheese with some cream cheese at approximately a 2 to 1 ratio, like – 4 ounces goat cheese to 2 ounces cream cheese.  Go heavier with the goat cheese if you want that flavor to be stronger.

Now just roll out your dough, put it on a greased baking sheet and smear some whipped goat cheese on it.  Layer some spinach & drizzle with olive oil.  Add figs & then some grated mozzarella & bake at about 450-500 (be sure the oven is at full temperature before putting pizza in there) for about 12 minutes or until the cheese melts & the crust browns.  Drizzle with honey!

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Grilled Fig & Watercress Salad with Goat Cheese, Toasted Walnuts & Balsamic Glaze

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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First of all – an update on the gorgeous Piglet.  Here she is about three weeks ago – fresh out of the shelter with epic mange.  (First two images stolen from her rescuer – Fairy Dogfather.)

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Here she is about a week later after some meds & one mange dip.  All pink & ALL bald.

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And here she is – yesterday.

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All we have been doing is steeping supermarket jarred garlic in warm water & giving her a sponge bath in it two times a day (plus a little antibiotic medication) and her fur is coming in so fast you can almost watch it grow!  She is the most incredible little girl!  I am so honored to know her.

In other news – by boyfriend (Miles) lives in Little Rock.  Sometimes, he shares some Arkansas flavor with me.  Lots of bars with great names.  Lots of bars that look like you could find trouble if you wanted it.  Maybe even a mullet or two.  Certainly a few gun racks in the parking lot.  Definitely some misplaced anti-Obamacare sentiment from a lotta folks who probably need it the most.  God bless America!  (Photos by Miles Miller.)

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And even cooler – authentic southern BBQ joynts like Bubba’s here.

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It reminds me a LOT of True Blood’s Merlotte’s!!!

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And looky what they serve up at Bubba’s!

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Looks like cold beer, fries & the charred forearm of an adult human.  Yum!

Speaking of yum – this salad is outrageous!  Easy & bursting with different flavors & lots of different textures.  Pretty, too – no?

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I have a grill on my stove & I love it enough to consider marrying it.  If you do not have one – but you like grilling things – maybe invest in a grill pan.  You don’t have to marry it.  I use my grill pan a lot, too, even though I have the real grill.   I won’t let anyone grill MEAT on my stove because it just gets disgusting fat everywhere & I don’t want that.  I have enough disgusting fat on ME – I don’t need it in the catch pan of my Viking, too.  So – if folks want to grill meat on my stove – they use a grill pan.  It also makes for pretty quesadillas – see!

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That’s my Squash Blossom Quesadilla.  As enjoyable to eat as it was to look at.

Anyway – the figs don’t HAVE to be grilled but it adds a nice look & a subtle flavor.

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These are green figs.  The ones that are purply-red inside are prettier but the green ones were all that were available so I grabbed them.  You can eat the outer skin of figs, too, so these guys can be eaten like giant grapes.

The toasting of the walnuts is a bizarrely important step in this recipe.  It changes their flavor significantly – so do not skip it.  Quantity here is really up to you so I am only going to list the ingredients I used.  You can use more or less of each to suit your taste.  Also – I used watercress but arugula or baby mixed greens would do very well, too.

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Grilled Fig & Watercress Salad with Goat Cheese, Toasted Walnuts & Balsamic Glaze

INGREDIENTS

Lots of balsamic vinegar

Watercress (or arugula or other mixed greens)

Walnuts – chopped

Figs

Goat Cheese

Olive oil

Fresh ground pepper

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DIRECTIONS

To make the balsamic glaze, boil some balsamic & then reduce it to a simmer.  Cook it down until it thickens.  It reduces quickly & 1/4 cup of balsamic produces about 2 tsps of glaze – so – keep that in mind when deciding how much balsamic to add to the pan.  If it gets too thick – add more balsamic or some water.  Set aside.  Here it is on my Grilled Watermelon & Feta Salad with Mint, Arugula & Balsamic Glaze.

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Halve the figs & brush with olive oil.  Grill for about 1 minute or until grill marks appear.

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Wash the watercress & remove any large stems.

Toast the chopped walnuts in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes (or until they become fragrant & just begin to brown a bit) being very careful not to burn them.  Set aside.

Now, simply assemble the salad with the watercress, figs, goat cheese & walnuts.  Drizzle a little olive oil over it & drizzle some balsamic glaze.  Grind fresh pepper over it liberally. Taste it & then lose all semblance of control and eat it with your hands whilst standing up. Grunting might happen.  Pleasure definitely will.

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Fig, Fennel, Blackberry & Goat Cheese Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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If you live even remotely near Glendale, California – you simply MUST check out Super King – the grocery store near there on San Fernando Road by the 2 freeway.  It is so friggin’ CHEAP to buy produce there AND they have lots of unusual seasonal items like squash blossoms & sour grapes & grape leaves etc.  I bought kale there this week – 3 for .99 cents.  Kale costs $2.50 a bunch at my local Gelson’s.

Anyway – on my last trip to Super King – I got a litle container of blackberries for about .79 cents and I bought a container of green figs.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with either (as I find blackberries always to be disappointingly sour and I have never purchased a fig before) but they were practically free & offered new culinary avenues to explore.  As it turned but, I didn’t explore very far – in that – I just made another pizza but it was a delicious & uniquely flavored pizza with a lot going on.  As it turned out, I again found all but a few of the blackberries to be sour & I found myself picking them off of this pizza as I ate it.  And I did eat it.  ALL of it.  But not the blackberries.  So – if you make this pizza – be sure to use very ripe berries or eighty-six them entirely.  They add a pretty color but there are so many other flavors vying for attention here – you won’t miss the berries.

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Fig, Fennel, Blackberry & Goat Cheese Pizza

INGREDIENTS

(I won’t list quantities here because that is a matter of taste)

Pizza dough of choice (mine is HERE)

1 fennel bulb – shaved very thinly

Blackberries

Goat cheese

Walnuts – crushed a bit

Figs – cut thin

Honey

Fresh rosemary – chopped finely

olive oil

S&P to taste

Crushed red pepper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat your oven to 450-500 degrees & be sure it reaches temperature before putting your pizza in there.

Roll out your dough & put it on the cooking sheet.  Brush some olive oil on there & maybe lightly salt it.  (I went a little heavy with the olive oil.  Oops!)

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Set the walnuts aside for now.  Then, simply layer the fennel & some rosemary & figs & berries & goat cheese & on your crust.  Top with more rosemary.

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Bake the pizza for 12-18 minutes or until the crust is browned & the cheese melted a bit.   When you think the pizza is about 3 minutes from being done – add the walnuts.  Finish baking.

When the pizza is done – drizzle all over with honey.

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Slice it up & eat it.  I added some crushed red pepper because that is how I roll.  Enjoy!

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Pizza with Fresh Figs, Goat Cheese, Roasted Pistachios & Honey at Pink Flamingo, Paris

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http://www.pinkflamingopizza.com/

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All photos in this article are credited to: Pink Flamingo

I will post a pizza from one of the several European franchises every once in a while because I think Pink Flamingo, established by my friends Jamie & Marie, makes the most astonishingly creative pizza masterpieces ever.   I highly recommend visiting one if you are in Europe.  In Paris, you can order a pizza and go sit by the river with the pink balloon they will hand you.  When your pizza is ready, they locate the balloon & deliver it to you.  One restaurant has a retro-fitted VW Bus outside that serves as a private 7 person dining room (Pink Flamingo du Maris – 105 rue Vieille du temple/01 42 71 28 20).

Even if you cannot get to one of their locations, you can certainly look at their Facebook posts & glean some inspiration!  I know I do!

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Their branding is unbelievably cool, too!

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