Vegan Roasted Butternut, Kabucha & Delicata Squash with Pomegranate, Mint, Balsamic Glaze & Roasted Pepitas

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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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I had managed to collect a variety of squash with no real plans for them.  Today – as I often do – I looked around for inspiration & came up with this.  It is gorgeous & light & delicious and can be served warm or room temperature.    I have leftover roasted squash & pepitas & if you end up with leftovers, too – consider cutting the skins off the squash & make a salad!  Toss with arugula & pomegranate seeds & pepitas & a balsamic vinaigrette (adding goat or feta – if you are a cheese eater) – OR – make a pizza with slices of squash atop a crust with some mozzarella (vegan or not – up to you) and then top the cooked pizza with arugula & pomegranate seeds & pepitas.  Lots of ways to use all these pretty colors & flavors.

This is not a difficult recipe.  The most painstaking parts are seeding the pomegranate (or you could buy pomegranate seeds) and roasting the pepitas (you could buy roasted pepitas).  It is far more satisfying to do it all from scratch.

I used three kinds of squash.  You can use all one kind or choose different kinds – but use ones that all have thick skins so the cook at the same rate.

Speaking of which – I tossed the seeds from all 3 squash into the same bowl to clean & roasted them together.  In the future – I will keep the kabucha seeds separate – as they are far larger than the others.  I will put the smaller seeds on one cooking sheet & the larger on another – so I can take each out of the oven at the rate they are ready.

The ratio of ingredients here is kind of up to you.  You might like more or less glaze, more or less pomegranate or pepitas or mint – so – assemble yours to taste.

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Roasted Pepitas

Seeds from the squash

Fine salt

Olive oil or cooking spray (I used olive oil spray)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to about 325.

Get a large bowl of water & put the messy seed mix in there.  Separate the seeds from the flesh & the seeds all float to the top.  Use a slotted spoon & get those suckers outta there.

Boil some water & add a tsp of salt.  Lower the heat, add the seeds &  simmer the seeds, uncovered, for about 10 minutes & then drain them.

I let them set out to dry a bit & then tossed them with just a hint of olive oil or some cooking spray.  If you have two wildly different sized seeds – cook them on separate sheets so you can take the smaller ones out sooner than the larger.

Spread them on a cooking sheet in as thin a layer as you can – trying to minimize overlap so all the seeds get heat equally.  Sprinkle with a little salt & bake for about 10 minutes.

Take them out & stir them around.

Now continue roasting in 5 minute increments because you DO NOT want to burn these.  They are done when they are just starting to look golden but the real test is how they chew.  So – cool a few off each time you test them & eat them.  They are done when they chew easily & are nice & crunchy!

Save extras in a jar.

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Vegan Roasted Butternut, Kabucha & Delicata Squash with Pomegranate, Mint, Balsamic Glaze & Roasted Pepitas

6-10 as a side – depending on the size of your squash & appetites

INGREDIENTS

3 squash of your choice (I used butternut, kabucha & delicata)

Roasted seeds from your squash (recipe to roast them above)

Balsamic glaze (store bought or homemade – recipe:  Simply boil a balsamic until it reduces by about 50-75% and has a thick syrupy texture.  It really does reduce a LOT so – if it reduces to too little for your squash – just reduce some more.  If it gets too thick – add a few drops of water.)

Pomegranate seeds

Fresh mint – chopped

Olive oil or cooking spray (I used olive oil spray)

S&P

Parchment paper optional but it makes clean-up so easy!

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Heat the oven to 425.

Seed the squash & put the seeds in a bowl of water.  If there is a large disparity of size – separate them in different bowls by size.  I did mine altogether but I risked burning the smallest seeds waiting for the large kabocha seeds to cook.  It worked out – but I would still separate them next time.

Cut the squash into 1″ to 1.5″ inch slices.  Arrange on a cooking sheet.  Toss with olive oil (or spray with cooking spray on both sides) – and add some S&P.

Roast about 30 minutes – flipping once – or until they are soft & beginning to caramelize or brown a bit.

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If you are using homemade glaze – make that while the squash cook.  Simply boil a balsamic until it reduces by about 50-75% and has a thick syrupy texture.  It really does reduce a LOT so – if it reduces to too little for your squash – just reduce some more.  If it gets too thick – add a few drops of water.  If you like a lot of glaze – start with at least a cup or more before you reduce it.

Seed your pomegranate.

When the squash is done, arrange it on a platter.  Drizzle glaze & then sprinkle the pomegranate, pepitas & mint on top.

Gorgeous & healthy.  Wow the villagers with this shit!

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

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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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This is a very easy dish & it is really yummy.  I wanted to make a vegan mac & cheese without cashews & without nutritional yeast – because cashews are calorie dense & because nutritional yeast just isn’t for everybody.   The flavor of this dish is dominated by the butternut squash – but it is a really mild flavor.  Squash is kinda sweet, though, so I thought this needed more salt than I would typically use – to balance that sweetness.  I also used boatloads of Crystal hot sauce (my favorite brand).  Because the bulk of the “cheese” is really squash – this is a much lighter dish than a regular mac & cheese would be – so you can really go fucking nuts shoving it into your face – in an effort to, at least temporarily, fill the gaping hole in your heart.   And then you can pat yourself on the back for eating the (mysteriously trendy) kale that the recipe calls for.  Or – you could give the finger to leafy-green-eating hipsters & blow off the kale – or use spinach or peas or fried sage.  After all – emotional eating is different for all of us & your aching soul wants what it wants.  It is the holidays.  Give in.  Use this creamy carb porn to suppress things that would probably go away if you faced them but who needs that shit?  Facing things?  Leave that to the hipsters, too, while you eat this pasta out of the pan with a serving spoon and think hurtful things about man buns, full beards & whimsical mustaches.  Might as well bust out the liquor, too.   Then, do what I do, and nurse a bottle of champagne while watching doc after doc about people who have it worse than I do.  Human rights violations & Jonestown & international women cruelly subjugated.  The Holocaust.  Rare or incurable diseases.  And then think about how good you actually have it & bust open a second bottle of bubbly to celebrate.    Works for me.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

Serves 4-6 (or one really depressed person)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb macaroni (or other pasta) – cooked according to directions

1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk)

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1 vegetable bouillon cube (optional)

2 tsp mustard powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped (optional)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your pasta.

Boil some water & cook the squash until it is very soft – maybe 15 minutes.  Drain.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add the bouillon cube & then add the milk in small increments, melting the bouillon cube but also not adding more milk until the roux is thick & bubbly.

When you have used the full cup of milk, blend the roux with the squash and cream cheese.  I had to add a little more almond milk to get it to blend – but be careful it doesn’t get too thin.  Add the spices (I added mine later (as the photos show) but that was because I was winging it.  If you add them in the blender – they will blend in better.  Season with S&P.  Blend until very smooth.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & return to the pan.  Stir in SOME of the butternut sauce.  I say some because there might be too much – depending on how wet you like your mac & cheese.  Save a little – to pour on top of the mac & cheese when you serve it.  Stir in the kale until it wilts.  You can heat this on the stove – if things have cooled to much – but be careful not to burn it.  Season again with S&P & serve with a few tablespoons of butternut sauce on top.  Voila!

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Thanksgiving Vegan Torta Rustica with Creamed Spinach and Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes & Sweet Potato-Butternut Squash Puree

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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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OK – this one takes a few steps but all are easy & you end up with a GIGANTIC mound of all things savory & Thanksgivingy!  It is a bread course, sweet potato/squash dish, creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes & chicken courses – all rolled into one.  You can sub out the ingredients to suit your tastes.  This is basically an enclosed shepherd’s pie & is as versatile at shepherd’s pie is.

**PLEASE NOTE** – transferring this tart from the cooking sheet onto a serving platter might prove VERY tricky.  It will be very heavy – and the warmer it is when you try to transfer it – the more delicate that procedure will be.  It would SUCK to put all the work in – only to break it when you are ready to serve it.  If you don’t have two very large spatulas – and maybe an assistant – perhaps consider cooking this on something you can also serve it on.  Surrounding it with leafy kale (or other greens) at the base & a few cranberries & it will look festive & spare you the trauma of transferring it to a platter.  SERIOUSLY consider baking & serving from the same piece.  I am devastated just imagining what a failed transfer would do to my life – and I don’t want that for you.

Thanksgiving Vegan Torta Rustica with Creamed Spinach, Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes & Sweet Potato-Butternut Squash Puree

Feeds 8 easily

INGREDIENTS

for the soft tart dough

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

8 ounces vegan butter

3/4 cup silken tofu – pureed (I just smashed it all up with a fork)

1/3 cup vegan milk

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for the creamed spinach 

1 small onion or large shallot – diced

1 lb fresh spinach

2 (9 oz) packages vegan chicken (I highly recommend Beyond Meat brand.  Best on the market!) – cubed

4 oz vegan cream cheese

1/2 cup vegan milk

4 slices vegan cheese (I used the Chao below)

S&P

Olive oil

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for the scalloped potatoes

2-3 medium potatoes – peeled & cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

2 cups vegan milk

7 oz vegan cheese (I used that Daiya below)

1 cup panko or other bread crumbs

S&P

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for the sweet potato-butternut squash puree

1 butternut squash – peeled & cubed

1 large sweet potato – peeled & cubed

4 TBS vegan butter

Pinch of nutmeg

S&P

PARCHMENT PAPER for cooking

Vegan egg wash – small but equal parts agave nectar – soy milk – olive oil

GARNISH – kale (or other leafy greens) and fresh cranberries – to arrange around the tart.

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DIRECTIONS

for the soft tart dough

By food processor: Combine flour, salt & butter in a food processor using a metal blade.  Process with short pulses until the mixture is crumbly.  Add tofu with short pulses.  Add milk, gradually, with short pulses until it begins to clump and – eventually – orbit as a ball inside the food processor.  You might need a little more flour.  When the dough is formed – it will be very soft.   Gather it into a ball & wrap it tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 3 days.  When ready to roll it out bring it back to room temperature and flour a work surface to facilitate handling.

By hand: combine flour & salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center & add the butter and the smashed silken tofu.  Lightly blend the butter & tofu with fingertips.  With a knife or pastry blade, cut the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture.  Gradually, add the milk – tossing with a fork until the dough comes together.  The dough will be very soft.  Add more flour if it is too wet.  Gather it into a ball & wrap it tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 3 days.  When ready to roll it out bring it back to room temperature and flour a work surface to facilitate handling.

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for the scalloped potatoes

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour & a little S&P.  Heat until it just begins to turn golden then slowly add the milk – letting it thicken before you add more.  When all the milk is incorporated & it is still sorta thick – melt in the cheese.  Season with salt & pepper.  Toss with the sliced potatoes & place in a greased casserole dish.  Top with panko or bread crumbs & cook for 45-60 minutes or until it is bubbling & the crumbs are browned.  Set aside.

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for the creamed spinach & chicken

Heat a TBS of olive oil in a saute pan & cook the onions until soft.  Add the spinach & let it wilt – then add the cream cheese & milk.  Heat until the cheese melts & you have a thick & creamy spinach.  Season with S&P & toss the chicken in & stir.  Set aside.

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for the sweet potato-butternut puree

Boil the sweet potato & butternut chunks until soft.  I then drained them & mashed them with the butter, nutmeg and S&P.  Set aside.

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to assemble the tart

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a medium bowl with plastic wrap.  A moderately deep & wide one is best.  If the bowl is too deep – your tart will be too tall & be more likely to collapse.  Also – be sure your bowl opening (at the top) is no wider than the cooking sheet you will be using to bake the tart.

Roll out 2/3 of the dough big enough that it not only lines your bowl but has overhang.

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Place a thin layer of puree in the bottom & then a thick layer of scalloped potatoes & then the rest of the puree.  Put the four slices of cheese on top of that then all of the spinach & chicken.

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Roll out the remaining dough so that it fits the top of your bowl & then fold the edges of the bottom crust over it & use a knife or fork to pinch it sealed.  Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper & invert it on top of your tart – and VERY CAREFULLY – flip it over so your tart is sealed-side down.  Be sure to put the cooking sheet with the parchment ON TOP OF your bowl & flip.  Do not try to just flip the bowl onto the cooking sheet.   This sucker likely weighs more than a turkey & the soft dough will not withstand that much pressure.  Remove the bowl & the plastic wrap.

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I sprayed it with cooking oil but found that did not give me a golden glaze so – mix up a little vegan egg wash (small but equal parts agave nectar – soy milk – olive oil) and occasionally brush the tart as it bakes.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until it looks nice & browned.

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Look how HUGE that thing is!  See the pastry brush?  That has to be 12 inches long.

OK – here comes a tricky part.  Let it cool a while before fussing with it.  Once anything that seeped out of it has pretty much cooled – run a knife under it to loosen the tart from the escapes bits.  I used an ENORMOUS spatula & the parchment paper to very delicately shift the tart to a serving plate.  It is a heavy & unwieldy thing – so be very delicate when handling this tart – get assistance, if possible.  If the transfer is too risky for you – consider just putting some leafy greens & cranberries around the base on the pan itself & serve this bad boy directly from the cooking sheet.  Better to go low brow than having this guy fall apart.

This should be served warm but is delicious at room temperature, too.

Happy vegan Thanksgiving!

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Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

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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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Lots of my recent recipes have been born from the need to use the vegetables that Farm Fresh to You sends me every two week.   I had a butternut squash and, you guessed it, celery root.  Two.  HUGE.  Celery roots.  I love celery root but there are not really that many ways to use it (it ain’t no cauliflower – that’s all I’m saying) – but this soup is a perfect way.  Creamy & light & guiltless.  I ate it for lunch at work for ten days straight.  I am certain it will freeze well – so if variety is the pice of your life – get ready to freeze some of this stuff.

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Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

Serves 10+ depending on portions

INGREDIENTS

1 large butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 large celery roots – peeled & cubed

1 onion

3 celery stalks – sliced

5 carrots – sliced

1 jalapeno – seeded & chopped (I did not seed mine & the soup was delightfully spicy!)

1-2 TBS dry sage (add it in increments)

10 cups vegetable stock

1 cup almond (or other vegan) milk (option – skip the milk & add more stock)

olive oil

S&P

GARNISH OPTIONS – fresh chopped sage, fried sage, a dollop of vegan sour cream or lots of freshly cracked pepper

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a glug or two (2-3 TBS) of olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the onions, carrots, celery & jalapeno until the onions just start to turn color – just a bit.  Add everything else except the almond milk.  Bring to a boil & cook until the squash & other veggies are VERY soft.

Puree in a blender in batches – putting the puree into a clean pan.   When it is all smoothly pureed, season with S&P & stir in the almond milk – or more stock – if you think it needs it.  Heat through.

Serve with whatever garnish you choose.

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Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Fried Sage

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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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This is another super easy & healthy one!  I used sweet potatoes but any orange squash would also work.  No dairy in this at all & it still tastes so decadent!  If you own a blender – you can make this in 30 minutes.   The sauce can be used as it is here – over pasta – but if you added a bit more stock or some milk or heavy cream – you would have a delightful soup!  Or – leave it thick & make ravioli.  Or slather some in a white lasagna.  Mmmmm!

I used these fresh (non-vegan) egg noodles I got from an Asian market but any pasta at all works in this.

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Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Fried Sage

Serves 4 well

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta (if you use less pasta – see notes above about how to re-purpose the extra sauce)

2 TBS olive oil

1 package or bunch of fresh sage

1 large sweet potato (2 lbs or so – or 3 cups) – peeled & cubed

1 medium onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS (or less – if heat bothers you) crushed red pepper

2 cups vegetable stock

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain your pasta – but reserve about a cup of the hot pasta water.  Toss the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking.  Set aside.

Over medium heat – warm the oil in a large saute pan & fry the sage.   Be careful not to burn it (it should not brown in the pan).  After 2 minutes or so – drain it on papers towels & set aside.

In the same pan, add the onions.  Once softened, add the sweet potato, garlic & crushed red pepper.  Stir for one minute & then add the stock.  Bring to a boil & boil until your sweet potato is soft.

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Being careful not to burn yourself, puree the sweet potato mixture.  Season liberally with S&P (to taste).   Put the noodles in the pan you cooked the sweet potatoes in.  Spoon only as much of the sweet potato puree onto it so you get a light cover.  You don’t want to drown the pasta.  I had a lot of puree left over from the 1/2 pound of pasta I cooked & I will make it into soup (see notes above the recipe).  If it gets too thick, stir in some of the reserved pasta water – a bit at a time.

Plate the pasta & crumble sage on it.  Garnish with fresh cracked pepper & maybe some grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative).

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Zucchini Squash Blossom Pizza with Garlic Zucchini, Tomatoes & Herbs

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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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Zucchini blossoms!  I fucking love zucchini blossoms!  Look how gorgeous they are!  Delicate & delicately flavored – they are a lovely addition to many dishes – if only for the splash of color they add.  They do have a flavor, though, and finding a dish that uses them that is tasty but doesn’t overwhelm the blossoms can be tricky.  I have posted another pizza yesterday, my Zucchini Squash Blossom White Pizza with Goat Cheese and Ricotta and Mozzarella.

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It was yummy – but I think I prefer the one I am posting here now.  Today’s pizza is colorful & flavorful & moist & easy & wonderful.  With pizzas, I seldom give quantities for the ingredients because I feel that is really up to you.  Some folks like lots of cheese – others do not. I used a lot of LARGE chunks of garlic in this.  Some might find that heavy-handed.  So – use this as a guideline & make your own decisions but – if you find zucchini blossoms – buy them & try them in something because they are a pure delight & only around for a few weeks.

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Zucchini Squash Blossom Pizza with Garlic Zucchini, Tomatoes & Herbs

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I use THIS & make it in my bread machine)

Zucchini blossoms (I used about 10)

1 tomato – diced

1 zucchini – sliced thin

4-5 cloves garlic – roughly chopped

Grated mozzarella (or vegan alternative)

Fresh mozzarella (or vegan alternative)

Olive oil

Salt (you gotta try the Pink Himalayan)

Herbs (I used a mix of chopped basil, mint and parsley – with the fresh MINT being extra special here)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450.

Remove the stems & center thingy from the blossoms.

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Chop the blossoms up.

Heat some live oil in a saute pan & saute the zucchini rounds & chopped garlic over medium heat until the rounds soften.   Reserve the olive oil & garlic & drain the zucchini on a paper towel.

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Roll the dough out & place it on a cooking sheet with either parchment paper or treat the pan with cooking spray.

Brush the olive oil from the zucchini onto the crust & add the garlic.  Pierce the crust in several places so it doesn’t bubble up & bake for 5-10 minutes.

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Take it from the oven & top it with a layer of grated mozzarella, the zucchini rounds (add a little salt here), some diced tomato, fresh mozzarella & most of the chopped blossoms (reserve some for garnish).

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Bake this pretty fucker for another 10-15 minutes or until it is cooked to your liking.  Garnish with more chopped blossoms & the chopped herbs.  Yyyyymmmmm!

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Zucchini Squash Blossom White Pizza with Goat Cheese and Ricotta and Mozzarella

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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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Untitled

vromans back

My favorite place on Earth, Super King, carries unusual & seasonal produce & now is the season for zucchini blossoms.  I LOVE ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS!  Almost irrationally.   They have a flavor so subtle as no almost be indiscernible & easily overwhelmed.  They are most frequently served stuffed, breaded & fried but that is just so unhealthy – I can bring myself to do it anymore.

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So – I made this pizza – because I had leftover, homemade dough & just felt like pizza.  Does anyone ever NOT feel like pizza?  I blended the goat cheese with an equal part ricotta in an effort to add subtle flavor but nothing so strong it overwhelmed the zucchini blossoms.  This is a very delicately flavored & mild pizza.  Pretty to look at & yummy to eat.

I also used the last bit I had of this shitty grated cheese.  A fresh mozzarella is infinitely more desirable.  PLEASE use some of that instead.

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Zucchini Squash Blossom White Pizza with Goat Cheese and Ricotta and Mozzarella

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I make THIS in my bread machine & use it over several days)

Zucchini blossoms

Goat cheese

Ricotta cheese

FRESH mozzarella cheese

Chives and/or micro greens as garnish

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-475.

The amount of cheese you want it up to you but I mixed equal parts goat & ricotta & then added a bit of S&P to that.

Carefully, snip out the pistol with scissors or by pinching with your fingers.  The pistol is the nubby thing growing out of the center of the flowers.  Pinch off the stems.  Don’t worry if they tear.

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Now – just assemble your pizza.  I have really come to love parchment paper.  Nothing really sticks to it & it is nice to photograph, as well.  Anyway – get your pizza pan out & spray it with cooking spray or line it with parchment.

Roll the dough out & put it on the cooking sheet.  Then – assemble.  I started with my bullshit grated mozzarella.  You should use fresh stuff (the sort sold in water), if you can.  I added some blossoms, randomly, & dolloped the whole thing with the ricotta/goat cheese blend.  I cooked it about 12 minutes but you cook it until it looks done to your liking.

Garnish with snipped chives or micro greens & maybe more S&P.  Mmmmmmmmmm!!!!

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