Thursday, October 4, 2007

Eating Seasonally

One of the tenets of responsible eating -- of Slow Food, etc., is to eat seasonally. That is, eat foods that are ripe and ready at certain times of year. For example, eat asparagus in March (April?) not in December. Here is a website which explains this principle in detail and lists seasonal produce by state. So now it is fall and the produce we received from our Harvest Valley Farms CSA this week represents the typical Fall (or maybe more like winter?) selection: beets, turnips, kale, red peppers, apples, butternut squash for example.

The problem is that it is 84 degrees today! And was yesterday and is supposed to be tomorrow. I really don't feel like eating roasted winter vegetables or kale and potato soup. So, since our tomato plants are finally producing, we had a whole wheat pizza crust topped with chopped tomatoes, basil, oregano, red onions and cheddar cheese. I made the crust with whole wheat milled by the Beaver County Conservation District at last year's Maple Festival. I bought it at a farmer's market in Sewickley and have been keeping it in the freezer.
Here's the recipe for the pizza crust, which was fine, although I'm sure you could find another (better?) one:

This recipe makes enough for two 12-inch pizzas or eight small ones. Again, to double the recipe, remember that the ratio is three parts flour to one part liquid.
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour, sifted
Additional flour or cornmeal for rolling out the dough
1. Dissolve the yeast in water in your processor or mixing bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and salt. Mix in 1 1/2 cups of flour. Add the rest of the flour, processing or stirring until the dough forms a ball. Turn out the dough onto a board dusted with flour or cornmeal, and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth. Divide it into equal round portions, and roll and gently stretch out. Press onto pans, cover with a dry towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 15 minutes. The crusts are then ready for toppings, or you can freeze them for up to a month.

My daughter and young son enjoyed kneading and rolling out the dough and spreading on the toppings. I'm not sure how it will taste topped with beets.

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