How Sweet Eats

Loving Lately 🍕

Loving Lately: Pizza (and all of it’s flavorful convenience)

Pizza has to be one of the greatest creations ever made. It’s inexpensive, can easily feed a lot of people, and is generally a crowd pleaser- because it is scrumptious! It’s bread, it’s cheese and it’s whatever else you want baked to perfection. I mean seriously. I think if my husband had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of his life, it would be pizza. And I sincerely believe that he feels pizza from a different place every night of the week is an entirely different daily meal. Oh, and in many places you can have it delivered hot and cheesy right to your front door! In less than 30 minutes! Let’s not forget that little golden nugget. 😉

Pizza is a great way to express your culinary creativity. Colors, flavors, textures… let ’em fly! Take this Nectarine Pizza with Basil, Blue Cheese and Reduced Balsamic from Alexandra’s Kitchen for example. Yeah, that’s right.

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Or maybe a White Pizza with Garlic Sauce and Garden Herbs from How Sweet Eats… How much pizza is acceptable to eat at one sitting? Also by Jessica from How Sweet Eats are these mouth-watering 30-Minute Portobello Pizzas featured by The Pioneer Woman. I’m not going to lie, mushroom for crust just seems like a really good idea. I wonder how soy cheese would work for my vegan friends out there?

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Apparently, the thing is basil. Everything will look beautiful as long as you have fresh basil. But I imagine Chicken Florentine Flatbread by Rachel Schultz tastes pretty good too. Little bursts of roasted cherry tomatoes… Yummmm!

And because this is the way I think, wouldn’t this be pretty for Christmas?

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How about the fall? Are you ready to see everything that embodies autumn wrapped in a pizza package? Drum roll please…. Caramelized Butternut, Crispy Kale + Fontina Pizza with Pomegranate Salsa by Half Baked Harvest. Bravo! …Of course you could always go with the Cranberry Sauce, Bacon, and Gorgonzola Pastry Puff Pizza from Baker by Nature. Decisions, decisions.

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Whether it’s buffalo chicken, taco, Hawaiian, regular pepperoni or pizza in a cone (that’s a real thing, thank you Pillsbury), “Za” is awesome. (That’s a real word too, thank you Scrabble).

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Seriously Delish’s BBQ Roasted Chickpeas

I love seasoned & lightly salted snacks. Specifically popcorn, potato chips, roasted nuts & seeds, pretzels… actually it’s not specific to anything- just season & salt it. But for a period of time I almost lost that passion. I was on a train in Alaska when my husband brought me a thoughtful and highly seasoned snack pack, because he knows me so well… that I could never eat because just the smell of the unopened package made me sick (like many things on that trip). Of course, when we got home, it all began to make sense because we found out I was pregnant (with who is now my daughter). I’ll admit it took a while to get past my little hangup, but let the good times roll and the seasoned snacks too! It’s nibbles like these that remind me of how good snacking can be. Did I mention they are healthy? Purely Coincidental! (Furthermore they are awesome tossed in a salad!)

As found in Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant:

1 Tbsp Smoked paprika

1 Tbsp Onion powder

1 1/2 tsp light Brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp Garlic salt

1/2 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper

1 1/2 cups canned Chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp extra-virgin Olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, onion powder, brown sugar, garlic salt, chili powder, and pepper.

Pat the chickpeas completely dry with a towel and remove any of the skins that become loose. Add the chickpeas to a bowl and toss them with the olive oil and three-quarters of the spice mixture. Mix well to coat the chickpeas and spread them out on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes, toss them with a spatula, and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chickpeas cool on the baking sheet.

Taste the chickpeas and season them with the additional spice mix if needed… Roasted chickpeas are best the day they are made- after a few hours they can lose their crunch. However, you can store them in a container with a sheet of plastic wrap lightly covering the top for 2 to 3 days.

 

 

Cookbook Crazy

I have a serious problem, a legitimate weakness for collecting cookbooks. I read them like people read mystery novels or classic literature. I thoroughly enjoy them. I love the pictures and the recipes and the shared techniques and the background stories. I like imagining on what occasion I can make the prospective recipes and with what company I would enjoy them. I have even gone as far as cataloging many recipes in a computer database to be able to quickly retrieve recipes by ingredient. For example, let’s say I got a great deal on some sweet, juicy, organic blackberries. Well, then I would go through my database and pull up my file on fruit. I would then proceed to blackberries, and sift through every pie, cobbler, muffin and scone, etc recipe until I found one that sounded interesting. I would then see which of my books it was from, what page I can find it on, if it has a picture, if I made it before and, if so, what I thought of it. I realize this is totally nerdy of me.

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Do they have cookbook reading clubs? We should start one. I just read Three Sisters Bake. It almost brought me to tears (not kidding, I should get out more). I can completely relate to the desire of starting a café with a sister. I’m not sure about the black pudding, but I’m not Scottish either. I’d try it though. Their rustic baking pictures are just my style, and I can’t wait to make their soups.

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Currently I am reading Simply Delish by Jessica Merchant. Her food sounds fun and flavorful. I need to get some whole wheat pastry flour. And she makes toast with toppings look like a whole new cuisine. Her excitement is contagious; I should drink a kale smoothie and go to the gym.

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My at present favorites are: Pioneer Woman, I am waiting with anticipation for her new book to come out this fall; Barefoot Contessa, and Better Homes and Gardens. All of them are easy for a home cook like me to follow, and I am almost always happy with the results I get from them. Pioneer Woman cooks with a practicality that I can relate to. She almost always cooks with ingredients I have on hand. Her food, I find, in general is simple and scrumptious just like she claims it is. And she takes pictures every step of the way, which is perfect for me, because I know what it’s supposed to look like as I go along! I’m a fan. Barefoot Contessa is great for me. She measures everything. When I make her roasted chicken or leg of lamb, I feel fancy and triumphant. Just follow the instructions! I refer to her recipes and entertaining tips often. She has this simple sophistication. Maybe I’m persuaded by the pictures of her Hampton’s home and garden? And lastly, whenever, I am unhappy with a particular dish and variations there of, I go back to Better Homes and Gardens. It’s like going back to the basics of tried and true. For example, meatloaf, all the sudden it’s too spicy, or oozing cheese, or wrapped in soggy bacon. Wha? Let’s remember why I do or do not like this dish in the first place. Oh yeah, that’s more like how mom made it! Classic red and white checkered, perfect for novices like me, cookbook.

I have a few stashed under my coffee table, a couple on some side tables, probably at any given time one on my nightstand and a whole bookcase full of fun, colorful, black and white, fancy, low country, healthy, not-so-healthy, local, exotic, soul, old and new cookbooks. Ahhh, life is good.