Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tomato Season: 100 Days of Recipes, Day 65

You may notice my 100 days are skipping some numbers here at the blog (and if you did, wow, thanks for paying attention!), and that's because many times my recipes are quick snippets captured only on Instagram, but they still count! I did want to make a mention here of how happy I am to be in Tomato Season. Many years ago, I discovered that if I took nightshade veggies (tomatoes, white potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant) out of my diet, or mostly out of my diet, I had less creaky joints and stiffness. Creaky joints and stiffness are not fun for the potter (nor anyone else, I'm guessing), and once my body makes it clear that it will react negatively to a food, I try to not eat that food. It wasn't too hard to stop eating eggplant, as it's never been something I enjoy outside of a really good moussaka or occasional dip into a bowl of baba ganoush. And green peppers have also never been a favorite outside of using it in mirepoix, and when I started using fennel bulb instead, I discovered I loved fennel, and my aromatic base for all sorts of dishes got a whole lot tastier. I'm a much bigger fan of sweet potatoes than white potatoes, so that was an easy switch, although some days it's hard to pass up a really good french fry. 

I love slicers and big, beefy tomatoes, but when the season starts and there
are so many beautiful cherry and pear tomatoes, I could eat a whole bowl!
These lovelies are from Mudluscious Gardens, and they are luscious!
  The one food in the nightshade group that I was saddest about limiting (couldn't ever do the whole elimination!) is the tomato, but because I noticed how much better I felt, I did limit it greatly. And in the process, I realized how much I had taken tomatoes for granted, adding them to recipes and/or eating them in dishes 'just because', without paying attention to the quality of the fruit itself. In doing this, I also re-remembered how much better tomatoes taste when you eat them in season, and even better if you can eat them soon after they come off the vine. Throughout the year, I still get the occasional jar of pasta sauce or crushed tomatoes,  and I keep a tube of tomato paste in the pantry. But outside Tomato Season, I avoid the actual fruit, not only to feel better, but because they just don't taste good otherwise.

And in tomato season, I happily dive in to all the gorgeous tomatoes while they are in abundance at my local tailgate markets. I think the absence throughout the rest of the year makes those first bites even sweeter, and until the stiffness and creaky joints come back, there will be many tomato-themed recipes to come!

Almost too beautiful to cook, but knowing how much that delicious flavor
will intensify in the oven makes it easier to wait for the finished pie.

Today's recipe was motivated by needing to make more room in my tiny freezer for some stock items, and finding a 'wood-fire grilled whole wheat pizza crust' I didn't even know I had! 

Tomato Pie

1 thin, whole wheat pizza crust (this one was frozen, and already grilled)
1 cup sauce: 1 slightly over-ripe tomato, crushed and blended with 1 TBSP tomato paste 
      plus a good pinch of salt.
1 leek, sliced (whites and some greens) thinly
4 leaves of kale, sliced thinly
5 cloves pickled garlic, sliced
5-6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 small handful size Lion's Mane mushroom, chopped
1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped
Fresh tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick - as many as you can fit on top
Pecorino Romano, grated
Grey flaky sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Optional: additional aged cheddar or manchego cheese, grated

Spoon your sauce on the crust, and spread it out evenly across, leaving about 1/2" or slightly less around the edge for the crust. If you'd like more cheese, grate your cheddar or manchego on next. Top with your toppings, and finish with a good grate of Pecorino, a nice sprinkle of flaky sea salt, and a nice grind of pepper.

Slide the pizza into a 400 degree oven, on a pizza stone or a parchment lined baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes, or until the crust is nicely crisped and the edge of the crust browned and tomatoes lightly bubbling.

A fine pie, and the freshness of those tomatoes just bursts in each bite!

Leftover Note:
Take a slice out of the fridge and let it come to room temp while you scramble up an egg or two. Use that slice to hold the eggs. Sprinkle with basil and maybe some hot sauce. Good stuff.

Leftover win.

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